Thanks to the European Commission consumers can solve their cases with online traders through the platform for online dispute resolution ODR. “The website enables consumers to contact traders with a request to solve a dispute regarding delivery of goods, provision of service, claims settled to the detriment of the consumer and so forth,” said Ondřej Tichota of the European Consumer Centre of the Czech Republic which is the Czech ODR contact point.
After a complaint is submitted within the platform, both parties have the possibility to agree on an alternative dispute resolution body (ADR) to consider their case and mediate possible solution. Such ADR bodies are for example the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, Energy Regulatory Office, and the Czech Telecommunication Office. A minimum of cases ended up in an agreement on an ADR body, but 40% of consumers addressed in a survey by the European Commission answered that after their complaint was submitted to the platform, traders contacted them and resolved the dispute directly, i.e. out of the ODR platform.
„Direct resolution of a dispute, meaning a solution without the necessity to engage a mediator, is an ideal result for consumers contacting merchants via the ODR platform. The first year proved that the platform has a particular benefit for a number of consumers in Europe,” said Ondřej Tichota.
Most frequent fields of complaints were clothing and footwear, followed by the air transport and goods relating to information and communication technologies. In more than 20% of cases, complaints related to non-delivery of goods and reimbursement, non-compliance of delivered goods with the order and problematic claims of faulty goods. One third of disputes related to purchases from foreign traders.
The online dispute resolution platform can be found on https://ec.europa.eu/odr. Vendors are obliged to inform consumers about the possibility to solve disputes through the ODR platform and provide the above mentioned link.