Last month we published an update on a delay to the European Commission's online dispute resolution (ODR) platform for consumer disputes. 

As a result of the delay in making the platform available, traders were given a 6 week period to familiarise themselves with the platform and make the necessary changes to their websites this included giving them the opportunity to use the best ecommerce platform

What do we need to do?

The ODR platform goes live on Monday 15 February.

From that date, all traders trading with consumers via websites or other electronic means must include a link to the ODR platform on their website, together with a contact email address.

The new rules apply regardless of whether or not they trade with consumers in other EU member states. "Electronic means" includes email, text message, telephone and social media and in-app purchases.

Additional rules apply to traders that are subject to the rules of a trade association or other industry regulator and the requirement to include a link to the ODR platform supplements laws that came into force last October requiring traders to tell consumers about alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services for resolving complaints.

  • 33% of sites that provided information on returns placed unreasonable restrictions on consumers.For example, by only accepting returns in their original packaging.The law - under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations (which apply to most contracts "concluded at distance - for example, over the Web or by phone/mail order) consumers have the right to inspect the goods that they have purchased and have a seven working day 'cooling off period' in which they can return the goods, though there are some exceptions to this, such as where the  goods are perishable or customised. If goods need to be returned in their original packaging, un-opened, then it is difficult for consumers to inspect the goods to check if they are fit for purpose. It's also important that the return period runs from the correct date, and isn't subject to other unreasonable conditions.

Where can I find out more about the ODR platform and ADR?

To find out more read the latest guidance from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills or get in touch with me or your usual Brodies contact.


Martin Sloan