SThe European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform is provided by the European Commission to make online shopping safer and fairer for both consumers and traders. It is regulated by Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes that came into force in January 2016. The ODR platform was launched shortly after.
The platform provides opportunities to solve disputes between traders and consumers and an alternative dispute resolution process. The dispute resolution bodies listed on the ODR platform meet strict standards of quality and independence.
We recommend registering on the ODR platform. That makes it easier for your customers to get in touch with you if they have a problem. You will get notifications on time and are able to deal with the issues faster before they potentially grow into bigger disputes.
The main obligations for traders are set in Article 14 of the Regulation:
- You have to clearly provide your e-mail address on your website. Providing only an interactive contact form is not sufficient.
- You have to provide a link from your website to the Online Dispute Resolution platform ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr. This link has to be visible and easily accessible on the website.
If an offer is made by e-mail, then the link to the ODR Platform must also be included in the e-mail.
The information should also be mentioned in the general terms and conditions applicable to online sales and service contract.
The obligations apply to all traders established in the European Union and in Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
The regulation doesn’t define what is needed regarding the placement of the link on the website. The term “easily accessible” needs to be interpreted in a uniform manner throughout the EU which means that in the future we will probably see judgment from the CJEU.
As all EU regulations, this one is enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously.
In the meantime, we recommend providing the link at least in the terms and conditions of your website. Also, make sure to have your email address on the website and not just a contact form.
HOW CAN VEDINOR HELP YOU?
If you have questions about obligations set by consumer protection laws in the EU, please schedule a free consultation or contact partner Anne Nyström. We have a profound understanding of consumer laws and regularly advise and represent clients in engagements related to consumer protection.