Online Dispute Resolution to Resolve Consumer Disputes from the Perspective of European Union Law: Is the Potential of ODR Fully Used?

Pavel Loutocký

Abstract

Traditional judicial mechanisms did not offer an adequate solution for cross-border electronic commerce disputes. Although there has been expected great potential in solving disputes online and the rise of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) use, the assumptions has not been confirmed yet. Only a few examples demonstrate the success stories of ODR, which is in big contrast to the continuous growth of electronic transactions and in general with the use of the online environment. The European Commission however understood the potential of ODR and it is trying to foster the use of it by adopting the ODR Regulation and the ADR Directive. Such legal framework has been developed to apply in consumer disputes arising out of sales or providing services between an EU consumer and an EU trader.

The ADR Directive sets out basic standards of ADR entities and processual rules under which it is possible to solve the dispute. Then under the ODR Regulation the complainant will be able to submit a complaint using the ODR platform. The complaint (and any related documentation) will be submitted to the ODR platform via an electronic form.

Yet it is necessary to assess the risks of above mentioned legal framework. One of the great concerns are connected with possible forum shopping while providers are registering as ADR entities. Experienced trader (unlike the consumer) is able to choose ADR provider, which is more likely to decide in his favour. Possible exclusion of online negotiation or even online tools in general is then further underlining possible. The paper will thus assess main legal aspects of ADR / ODR legal framework of European Union Law and will deal with main problematic parts of it.

Keywords

Online Dispute Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, ODR Regulation, ADR Directive, ODR platform, Consumer, Negotiation, Forum Shopping

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References

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https://doi.org/10.5817/MUJLT2016-1-5


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