If you are an online trader who concludes contracts for the sale of goods or services to consumers online (by a website or “other electronic means” – which would include agreeing contracts by email), then as from 15 February 2016 you are required by the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 to include the following information on your website:
- a link to the ODR platform (which is http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr); and
- the online trader’s email address.
This link has only just been published, and we are promised the ODR Platform itself will go live at that address on 15 February 2016. KIdd Rapinet have included the required information in the “About Us” section of our own website, which you can see here. You must also in your “general terms and conditions” (which you use for your online contracts with consumers) inform consumers of:
- the existence of the ODR platform; and
- the possibility of using the ODR platform for resolving disputes.
Note that you are not actually obliged to use the ODR Platform, unless you are required to by the rules of your trade association or some specific enactment which applies to your business. You just have to tell your customers about it. However, according to the European Commission it “will allow consumers and traders to resolve their disputes without going to court in an easy, fast and inexpensive way”, which should in theory be a good thing.