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BizReport : Law & Regulation : February 22, 2016

EU retailers - are you up to date with the online dispute resolution platform requirements?

Online retailers in the European Union need to make sure they are up to date with the now-operational online dispute resolution platform.

by Helen Leggatt

As part of the European Commission's Digital Single Market initiative a cross-border online dispute platform (ODR) has been implemented.

The ODR is a multilingual, interactive platform that enables consumers, retailers and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers to handle cross-border ecommerce disputes online instead of head to court to settle.

"Most consumers experiencing problems when buying online don't complain, as they believe the procedure is too long and that it won't be solved," explained Vera Jourov√°, Commissioner for Justice, Consumer and Gender Equality at the European Commission. "The Online Dispute Resolution platform is an innovative tool saving time and money for consumers and traders."

The platform is linked to 117 dispute resolution bodies across 17 EU member states at present, but it is hoped it will have full coverage of all member states soon.

The onus is on retailers entering into online sales contracts or online service contracts with consumers to ensure a link to the ODR platform is displayed in a "prominent position" on their website.

Furthermore, online retailers are required to inform consumers of the existence of the platform, provide a contact email address and link to it and include ODR information in standard terms and conditions of sale and in any emails sent to customers that include a commercial offer.

The ODR went live on 15 February, 2016.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: dispute resolution, ecommerce, Europe, law and regulation, retail

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