On 15 February, the European Commission launched the Online Dispute Resolution platform. The platform aggregates (so far) 117 alternative dispute resolution bodies from 17 Member States, with the aim of fully covering the whole Union and all commerce sectors as soon as possible. Consumers willing to file a complaint against a trader have long had the possibility to avoid court action and use some alternative dispute resolution body. These bodies need to fulfill certain specific criteria, set out by EU legislation. However, the alternative dispute resolution mechanism can be difficult if the consumer is from a different Member State than the trader. The new online platform tries to overcome this. Consumers can file complaints against traders in their Member States, or in other Member States. The whole dispute resolution can be treated online, via the platform. The platform also offers translation service, so the language barrier ceases to be a problem. Both consumers and traders are statistically satisfied with alternative dispute resolution – it is cheaper, quicker and more positive-minded than court litigation. Its potential, however, has not been fully used due to lack of user-friendly interface. The new online platform tries to correct this – a complaint can be filed in 3 easy steps for any consumer and any trader in the EU (once the desired coverage is reached).
19th June 2018