The European Commission has launched a new Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform that will enable consumers and traders to settle disputes relating to both domestic and cross-border online sales without going to court. ODR will use national Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers that are connected to the platform. In the UK this includes The Retail Ombudsman, The Property Ombudsman and the Federation of Master Builders.
ODR is part of the EU Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution for consumer disputes which came into force in 2015. All online traders selling goods, services and digital content to consumers must provide a link to the ODR platform from their website, in e-mails and in their Ts & Cs. Although traders are not obliged to use ADR unless it is compulsory in their industry, they are required to provide notice of the ODR platform.