If you sell goods or services online, under new EU Regulations from 15th February, your website must provide a link to the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform.
Online traders who use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) should also provide information about the ODR Platform in their contractual terms.
How To Comply with the New ECommerce Regulations
In order to comply with the regulations, you must provide the following information on your website:
1. a link to the ODR platform http://ec.europa.eu/odr
2. the email address of the online trader
The following wording may be suitable:
“If you are a client/customer and we have made a contract with you by electronic means you may be entitled to use an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. This service can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr. Our email address is xxxxxx ”
What is the EU Online Dispute Resolution?
The EU website has the following explanation:
If consumers have a complaint about a good or service they have bought, instead of going to court, they can choose Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The term ADR includes all the ways of resolving a complaint which do not involve going to court.
Typically consumers ask a neutral third party to act as an intermediary between them and the trader; this neutral third party is called an ADR entity. The ADR entity can then suggest or impose a solution, or simply bring the two together to discuss how to find a solution. This is also known as “mediation”, “conciliation”, “arbitration”, “ombudsman” or “complaints’ board”. Compared with going to court, ADR is usually quicker, simpler and costs less.
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is an ADR procedure conducted entirely online.
The platform is user-friendly, multilingual and accessible to all.
Everything is done in four, simple steps:
• The consumer fills in an online complaint form and submits it.
• The complaint is sent to the relevant trader, who proposes an ADR entity to the consumer.
• Once consumer and trader agree on an ADR entity to handle their dispute, the EU ODR platform transfers automatically the complaint to that entity.
• The ADR entity handles the case entirely online and reaches an outcome in 90 days
Read the information in full:
Regulations for Traders Who Use ADR for Resolving Disputes
Under The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015, if a trader is required by his Trade Association or Professional Institution to use ADR in resolving disputes, the trader must provide the name and website address of the ADR entity:
- on the trader’s website, if the trader has a website; and
- in the general terms and conditions of sales or service contracts between the trader and a consumer.
The ADR entity has to be one authorised by one of the organisations referred to in the Regulations, which include the Financial Conduct Authority and the Legal Services Board.
ContractStore has a free download on ADR at this link: http://www.contractstore.com/Z140-alternative-dispute-resolution
Also our document A221, Website & Email Legal Notices, provides templates and explanations on the increasing number of notices that a business needs to include on its website.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or experiences to share.