Consumer policy: Alternative and online dispute resolution help consumers enforce their rights

Today, the European Commission released its first report on the implementation of the European framework for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). Both instruments allow consumers and traders to settle their disputes through 460 Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies over a purchase without going to court. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “This report clearly shows that alternative ways of resolving consumer disputes have picked up and appeal to consumers. This is good news. But we want more consumers to be aware about these alternative means and more traders to use them too. Today, only one in three traders use Alternative Dispute Resolution. This is not enough. I encourage Member States to continue their work to improve these tools.”The Online Dispute Resolution platform has attracted more than 8.5 million visitors and 120,000 consumer complaints since its launch in 2016. Moreover, it has led to direct settlement in up to 42% of cases. As regards Alternative Dispute resolution, the report shows that impartial dispute resolution bodies are now operational in all Member States and in the retail sectors. However, more work still needs to be done since both the Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Online Dispute Resolution do not deliver fully on the ground yet. The Commission works on continually improving the Online Dispute Resolution platform by providing more targeted information on consumer rights, while helping users find the most appropriate redress tools and facilitate direct settlements.