The European Commission has initiated the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. As of February 15, 2016, this platform enables the settlement of disputes between consumers and European commercial entities ensuing from the online purchase of goods and services. This is achievable without resorting to expensive and protracted court proceedings, through the utilisation of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies linked to the platform.

The multilingual platform is developed and managed by the European Commission, in line with the stipulations of the implementing regulation. This regulation outlines the features of the electronic complaint form, the procedures for carrying out the functions of the platform, and the cooperative processes between the ODR national contact points (the European Consumer Centre is the contact point for Italy).

Here’s how it works:

  • The consumer completes the online complaint form, detailing the nature of the dispute.
  • The complaint is forwarded to the professional who suggests an ADR body to the consumer.
  • Once consensus is reached between the consumer and the trader regarding the ADR body responsible for managing their dispute, the platform automatically transmits the complaint to this body. This body then manages the case entirely online within 90 days.

The Online Dispute Resolution platform is an innovative tool that will save time for both consumers and merchants. It is intended to bolster the confidence of consumers shopping online and assist businesses selling overseas, to the advantage of the EU’s digital single market.

To access the platform, you can click on this link.