Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ODR Adopted in EU

Online Dispute Resolution or "ODR" has been a niche area for resolving merchant disputes in North America. Our friends across the pond have implemented this technique as of last summer on the heels of a more traditional ADR directive. The new ODR Regulation will enable consumers to bring claims easily, intending the result of a unified EU approach to consumer disputes. The cost of the ODR procedure should be nominal, further reinforcing the aim of the EU to encourage the free movement of goods. However, use of the new procedures will not be mandatory and the procedures will not apply to traders established outside the EU that sell there. Despite the absence of an obligation on the parties to engage in ADR, traders are obliged under the prior EU ADR Directive to provide consumers with certain information relating to ADR entities and ADR schemes which are relevant to their business sector. ODR Regulation further requires that online traders provide a point of contact, as well as a link to the ODR Platform. The ODR Platform offers a single point of entry to EU consumers and traders seeking to resolve disputes out of court which arise from online transactions. Complaints can be filed electronically in all official languages of the EU. The ODR Platform will subsequently transmit the online complaints to the ADR entity competent to deal with the specific dispute. Finally, the ODR Platform provides its own case management tool that enables the ADR entity to conduct the ADR procedure through the ODR Platform. It should be interesting to see the statistics on use and settlement once ODR has taken hold in the EU. See more here from Morrison & Foerster--