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EuroCommerce supports Commission initiative on Alternative Dispute Resolution but sees room for improvement


30 Nov 2011


Trade & Society

Yesterday’s European Commission proposals on ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) have been warmly welcomed by EuroCommerce. Director General, Christian Verschueren commented, “We are particularly pleased that the Commission is providing quality criteria to Member States in order to upgrade their existing ADR mechanisms or to create new ones where they do not already exist. Furthermore we appreciate that the Commission’s ODR platform will serve as an interface and will refer cases back to national ADR entities, therefore avoiding new burdensome procedures.

An aspect that should be improved is that existing ADR mechanisms which are funded by traders only, are not recognised as official ADR entities under the Directive. Businesses should not be obliged to become a member of another ADR scheme which will serve the same purpose. The fact that some ADR mechanisms are only financed by traders should not question the well functioning of these mechanisms or the impartiality of the decisions taken.  

Regarding the information requirements, EuroCommerce calls on the European Institutions to ensure a coherent approach in line with the recently adopted Consumer Rights Directive, which states that traders should mention their adherence to a scheme in the terms and conditions and not additionally on invoices and receipts. 

The discrepancy between the time frame for solving disputes online and offline is another concern. The proposal only provides for 30 days for online dispute resolution. It should be at least the same as offline dispute resolution which is 90 days. The resolution of online disputes can be expected to be more time consuming since they concern cross-border cases. 

We are looking forward to cooperating with the Institutions to develop efficient, rapid and low cost ADR and ODR systems which will satisfy both the consumers and businesses.


Fatma Sahin

Adviser Internal Market & Consumer Rights

T: +32 2 737 05 96

Marjolein Raes

Director Advocacy & Communications

T: +32 2 737 05 99