ODR

EU International Dispute Resolution Regulation

The EU International Dispute Resolution Regulation (2013) establishes an EU wide platform for the out of court resolution of consumer disputes.  The ODR platform seeks to increase awareness of ADR procedures and is aimed at making individual redress accessible to parties in dispute.

It applies to out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms regarding contractual obligations between consumers resident in, and a trader established in EU through the means of an ADR entity, using the ODR platform.  The Regulation applies to disputes commenced by traders against consumers, only if the State’s legislation so permits.

The Commission has developed the ODR platform which became operative by 2016. The platform is designed to be user-friendly and must protect the privacy of participants in the process.  It must be available free of charge in all languages of the EU.

The Commission has been established two cross-border consumers networks, namely, the European Consumers Centres Network and the Financial Dispute Resolution Network.  They facilitate and assist in relation to cross-border disputes resolution.


The ODR Platform

The platform must provide an electronic complaint form which informs the respondent of the terms of the complaint. The ADR entity transmits the complaint to the respondent.  It must offer electronic case management free of charge. It must provide

  • translations of necessary information,
  • for the transfer of information electronically
  • a feedback system and
  • general information on ODR and ADR.

Each State must nominate an ODR contact point and notify it to the Commission.  There must be at least two ODR advisors. The contact point must support dispute resolution by facilitating communication.  This is to include assistance with submission of the complaint, providing general information on consumer rights and on the functioning of the ODR system, providing explanations on the ADR’s procedural rules and providing information on other means of redress, where the dispute cannot be resolved through the ODR platform.


Procedure

The complaint procedure involves both parties to the dispute and the mediation or other resolution body, which they agree to use.  The dispute resolution bodies offer a neutral party such as a mediator or ombudsman, to bring the parties together and to propose a solution.

Once an electronic complaint has been submitted to the platform, it will quickly contact and seek a response from the respondent party.  It will transfer the complaint to the mediation body which the parties agree to use.  If the body agrees to deal with the dispute, it must seek to resolve the dispute quickly and inform the ODR platform of the results.


Submission of a complaint

In order to submit a complaint to the ODR platform, the complainant party must fill in the electronic complaint form. The complaint form must be user-friendly and easily accessible on the ODR platform.  The information to be submitted by the complainant party is to be sufficient to determine the competent ADR entity. That information is listed in the Annex to the Regulation.

The Commission lays down the rules concerning the modalities for the electronic complaint form by means of implementing acts. The complainant party may attach documents in support of the complaint.

A complaint submitted to the ODR platform shall be processed if all the necessary sections of the electronic complaint form have been completed.  If the complaint form has not been fully completed, the complainant party shall be informed that the complaint cannot be processed further, unless the missing information is provided.


Transmission of Complaint to Respondent

Upon receipt of a fully completed complaint form, the ODR platform shall, in an easily understandable way and without delay, transmit to the respondent party, in one of the official languages of the institutions of the EU chosen by that party, the complaint together with the following data:

  • information that the parties have to agree on an ADR entity in order for the complaint to be transmitted to it, and that, if no agreement is reached by the parties or no competent ADR entity is identified, the complaint will not be processed further;
  • information about the ADR entity or entities which are competent to deal with the complaint, if any are referred to in the electronic complaint form or are identified by the ODR platform on the information provided in that form;
  • in the event that the respondent party is a trader, an invitation to state within 10 calendar days: whether the trader commits to, or is obliged to use, a specific ADR entity to resolve disputes with consumers, and unless the trader is obliged to use a specific ADR entity, whether the trader is willing to use any ADR entity or entities;
  • in the event that the respondent party is a consumer and the trader is obliged to use a specific ADR entity, an invitation to agree within 10 calendar days on that ADR entity or, in the event that the trader is not obliged to use a specific ADR entity, an invitation to select one or more ADR entities from those referred to;
  • the name and contact details of the ODR contact point in the Member State where the respondent party is established or resident, as well as a brief description of its functions.

Response to Complainant

Upon receipt from the respondent party of the above information, the ODR platform shall in an easily understandable way and without delay communicate to the complainant party, in one of the official languages of the institutions of the EU chosen by that party, the following information:

  • the information as to an agreement on an ODR entity
  • if the complainant party is a consumer, the information about the ADR entity or entities stated by the trader above and an invitation to agree within 10 calendar days on an ADR entity;
  • in the event that the complainant party is a trader and the trader is not obliged to use a specific ADR entity, the information about the ADR entity or entities stated by the consumer above and an invitation to agree within 10 calendar days on an ADR entity;
  • the name and contact details of the ODR contact point in the Member State where the complainant party is established or resident, as well as a brief description of its functions

The ODR platform must automatically and without delay transmit the complaint to the ADR entity that the parties have agreed to use.  The ADR entity to which the complaint has been transmitted shall without delay inform the parties about whether it agrees or refuses to deal with the dispute in accordance.

An ADR entity which has agreed to deal with the dispute shall also inform the parties of its procedural rules and, if applicable, of the costs of the dispute resolution procedure concerned.

Where the parties fail to agree within 30 calendar days after submission of the complaint form on an ADR entity, or the ADR entity refuses to deal with the dispute, the complaint shall not be processed further. The complainant party shall be informed of the possibility of contacting an ODR advisor for general information on other means of redress.


Resolution of the dispute

An ADR entity which has agreed to deal with a dispute shall:

  • conclude the ADR procedure within the deadline referred to in the ADR Directive;
  • not require the physical presence of the parties or their representatives, unless its procedural rules provide for that possibility and the parties agree;
  • without delay transmit the following information to the ODR platform
  • the date of receipt of the complaint file; the subject-matter of the dispute; the date of conclusion of the ADR procedure;
  • the result of the ADR procedure;
  • not be required to conduct the ADR procedure through the ODR platform.

References and Sources

Irish Texts

Consumer Law Rights & Regulation    Donnelly & White (2014)

Consumer Protection Act 2007 Annotated  Bird (2008)

Consumer Rights Long (2004)

Commercial & Consumer Law: Annotated Statutes O’Reilly, P (2000)

UK Texts

Consumer Sales Law: The Law Relating to Consumer Sales and Financing of Goods 3rd ed

John MacLeod, James Devenney (2019)

Electronic Consumer Contracts in the Conflict of Laws 2nd ed Zeng Sophia Tang (2018)

The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market: Upgrading from Alternative to Online Dispute Resolution Pablo Cortes (2017)

Blackstone’s Statutes on Commercial & Consumer Law 2017-2018 Francis Rose

Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice 2017 Bryan Lewin, Jonathan Kirk

Woodroffe and Lowe’s Consumer Law and Practice Woodroffe and Lowe’s Consumer Law and Practice 10th ed Geoffrey Woodroffe, Chris Willett, Christian Twigg-Flesner (2016)

Butterworths Trading and Consumer Law Looseleaf Annual Subscription Deborah L. Parry, Roland Rowell (2016)

Butterworths Commercial and Consumer Law Handbook 8th ed Richard B. Mawrey, Tobias Riley-Smith (2015

Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice 4th ed

Legislation

Sale of Goods Act 1893 56 & 57

Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980

The 2011 Report of the Sales Law Review Group,

Consumer Protection Act 2007 19/2007

Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 29/2014

Orders Re Price Display (retained

Prices Act 1958.

Prices (Amendment) Act 1965

Prices (Amendment) Act1972

Orders made under Prices Acts 1958 and 1965 were carried over on repeal of the 1958 and 1965 Acts by 19/2007

Prices and Charges (Tax-inclusive Statements) Order 1973, S.I.

Charges (Hairdressing) Display Order 1976, S.I. No. 156 of 1976

Retail Prices (Food in Catering Establishments) Display Order 1984, S.I. No. 213 of 1984

Consumer Information (Advertisements) (Disclosure of Business Interest) Order 1984, S.I. No. 168 of 1984417

Consumer Information (Advertisements For Concert Or Theatre Performances) Order 1997, S.I. No. 103 of 1997

Retail Price (Diesel and Petrol) Display Order 1997, S.I. No. 178 of 1997

Retail Price (Beverages in Licensed Premises) Display Order 19/2007

Consumer Information Act Orders

Consumer Information (Advertisements For Airfares) Order 2000, S.I. No. 468 of 2000

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Commencement) Order 2007,S.I. No. 178 of 2007

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Establishment Day) Order 2007,S.I. No. 179 of 2007

Consumer Protection (Fixed Payment Notice) Regulations 2007,S.I. No. 689 of 2007

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2011, S.I. No. 560 of 2011

Consumer Protection (Consumer Information) (Articles of Precious Metals) Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 143 of 2012

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 435 of 2012

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 409 of 2013

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (National Consumer Agency) Levy Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 458 of 2014

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) Levy Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 457 of 2015

European Communities (Cooperation Between National Authorities Responsible for the

Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) Regulations 2006, S.I. No. 290 of 2006 [Minister

European Communities (Cooperation Between National Authorities Responsible for the

Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, S.I. No. 316 of 2008  European Communities (Single-Member Private Limited Companies)European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts made by Means of Distance Communication) (Amendment) Regulations 2010, S.I. No. 370 of 2010

European Communities (Court Orders for the Protection of Consumer Interests) Regulations 2010, S.I. No. 555 of 2010

European Union (Protection of Consumers in respect of Timeshare, Long-term Holiday Product, Resale and Exchange Contracts) Regulations 2011, S.I. No. 73 of 2011

European Communities (Cooperation between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, S.I. No. 485 of 2012 [

European Union (Public Limited Companies) (Directive 2012/ European Communities (Cooperation between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 122 of 2013

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 160 of 2013

European Communities (Cooperation between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 200 of 2013

European Union (Consumer  information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 484 of 2013

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 250 of 2014

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 336 of 2014

European Union (Protection of Consumers in respect of Timeshare, Long-term Holiday Product, Resale and Exchange Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2014

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 343 of 2015

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) (No. 2) Regulations

2015, S.I. No. 368 of 2015

European Union (Traded Companies — Corporate Governance Statements) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 423 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 500 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 32 of 2016

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 336 of 2016

Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (Commencement) Order 2014, S.I. No. 366 of 2014

Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (Establishment Day) Order 2014, S.I. No. 367 of 2014

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Grocery Goods Undertakings) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 35 of 2016

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) Levy Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 479 of

2016

District Court (Consumer Protection Act 2007) Rules 2009, S.I. No. 106 of 2009

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995, S.I. No. 27 of 1995 [

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2000, S.I. No. 307 of 2000

European Communities (Certain Aspects of the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees) Regulations 2003, S.I. No. 11 of 2003

European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts Made by Means of Distance Communication) (Amendment) Regulations 2005, S.I. No. 71 of 2005

European Communities (International Financial  European Communities (Cooperation Between National Authorities Responsible for the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws) Regulations 2006, S.I. No. 290 of 2006

European Communities (Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services) Regulations 2004, S.I. No. 853 of 2004

Circuit Court Rules (Consumer Protection Act 2007) 2008, S.I. No. 585 of 2008

European Communities (Court Orders for the Protection of Consumer Interests) Regulations 2010, S.I. No. 555 of 2010

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Amendment) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 160 of 2013

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013, S.I. No. 484 of 2013

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 250 of 2014

European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. No. 336 of 2014

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 343 of 2015

European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) (No. 2) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 368 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015, S.I. No. 500 of 2015

European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 32 of 2016

European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, S.I. No. 336 of 2016