Since February 2, 2016, the Czech Trade Inspection Authority has been the entity ensuring alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes (ADR). The aim of the ADR scheme is to facilitate an amicable settlement of a dispute and reach agreements for both parties.
If a consumer thinks that they suffered prejudices from a vendor or that a vendor failed their obligations, they have the right to carry out an ADR procedure and try to seek an out-of-court solution. The ADR entity will process the particular submission and if the consumer’s requirements are assessed as justified, the entity will ask the particular vendor to react in order to reach an amicable solution of the particular dispute. Vendors are obliged to cooperate with the ADR entity. If a vendor is not willing to accept the proposed agreement, the ADR entity can issue a non-binding justified statement which can be used by the consumer for possible further steps concerning the enforcement of their claim. The ODR platform for resolution of online disputes can be used in cases of problems concerning online purchases.
ADR deals with disputes between consumers and vendors residing or permanently based in any country of the European Union. Consumers can initiate an ADR procedure in the period of 1 year after the first claim is made against the particular trader. When initiating an ADR procedure it is necessary to prove that an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the claim was made. The particular dispute shall not be already decided by a court or any other ADR entity. No fee is required within the ADR procedure.
The ADR entity does not deal with disputes in the area of financial services (consumers can turn to the Financial Arbitrator), electronic communication and postal services (consumers can turn to the Czech Telecommunication Office), electricity, gas and heat industry (Energy Regulatory Office). Contracts for provision of health services provided to patients by medical professionals in order to provide health-care, contracts concerning non-economic services of general interest and public providers of further and higher education are also excluded from potential proceedings.
ADR procedure is governed by section 20n et seq. of Act No. 634/1992 Coll. on Consumer Protection, as amended. Based on section 20x of this law, the Czech Trade Inspection Authority sets ADR rules that lay down the procedure for out-of-court resolution of consumer disputes.
ADR is a notified entity of out-of-court resolution of consumer disputes listed by the European Commission that has long term supported the development and improvement of ADR schemes. In this context, the Directive on alternative dispute resolution and Regulation on online dispute resolution were adopted.