* A substantial proportion – approximately 20% – of European consumers encounter problems when buying unsatisfactory goods and services in the internal market (Single Market). * The losses are estimated at 0.4% of the EU GDP.
* Despite a generally high level of consumer protection guaranteed by legislation, these problems are often left unresolved because such problems are even more difficult for consumers to solve when they buy something in another EU country or online. * Consumers and businesses in some Member States have the option to refer their complaints to alternative dispute resolution entities ("ADR entities"). There are currently more than 750 ADR entities in the EU but they are highly diverse not only across the EU but even within countries. * There are significant gaps in coverage: In some countries (e.g. Slovakia and Slovenia) no recognised ADR entities appear to exist, or the system needs to be developed further (e.g. in Romania). * Only about half of the existing ADR entities are notified to the European Commission as meeting the quality criteria (such as suitable qualifications, impartiality, transparency, effectiveness and fairness). * For most of the existing entities, consumer and business awareness are low. * On the other hand, there is no obligation for national public authorities to regularly monitor the use and effectiveness of the ADR entities. * very few existing entities in the EU offer the option of handling the entire process online. * Another significant problem is language barriers.
As a result of these, European consumers do not enjoy the same level of access to out-of-court resolution across the EU.
First steps: /3. slide/
* The Commission conducted several studies on ADR.
* The Commission has carried out a detailed impact assessment (IA), /analysing a range of policy options for both ADR and ODR./ The IA concluded that only a combination of two instruments on ADR and ODR can ensure access to impartial, transparent, effective and fair means to resolve domestic and cross-border consumer disputes out-of-court. A Framework Directive is the most appropriate way to ensure full ADR coverage in all Member States. /4. slide/
* On the 12th of March 2013, the European Parliament voted to support the new legislation on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). /The vote confirms the political agreement reached in December 2012 on the two legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission in 2011. The new legislation will now soon be adopted./ 1. Directive on consumer ADR
2. Regulation on consumer ODR
* Member States will have two years to implement the ADR and ODR rules. * the quality out-of-court ADRs should be available everywhere in the EU in the second half of 2014. * The ODR platform will be operational at the end of 2015.
"alternative dispute resolution procedure" means a procedure for the out-of-court resolution of a dispute through the intervention of a dispute resolution entity which proposes or imposes a solution or brings the parties together with the aim of facilitating an amicable solution.
The ADR procedure will be available for all contractual disputes in every market sector (e.g. travel, banking, dry cleaning) and in every Member State. The sectors of health and education will not be covered by the ADR Directive.
1) Procedures before dispute resolution entities where the natural persons in charge of dispute resolution are employed exclusively by the trader, 2) procedures before consumer complaint handling systems operated by the trader; 3) direct negotiation between the consumer and the trader, whether represented or not, and 4) attempts made by a judge to settle a dispute in the course of a judicial proceeding concerning that...