Some of our readers may be interested in the report that the European Commission has published this week assessing the functioning of the ADR/ODR systems for consumers across the EU. Whilst remaining positive about the ADR/ODR options for consumers, the Commission expresses mild concern about the fact that these dispute resolution platforms remain underused. The reports conclusion mentions as problematic:
- ADR awareness and perceptions (e.g. awareness is lower in SMEs than in large retailers; consumers consider ADR as biased towards traders or as traders' customer care service; traders worry about ADR being biased towards consumers);
- The navigability of national ADR landscapes (e.g. if a Member State has a large number of certified ADR entities, there is lack of clarity to which of them to turn to, and sometimes due to their specialisation consumers may need to seek full dispute resolution with more than one entity at the same time);
- Traders' uptake of ADR (on average, 1 in 3 retailers is willing to use ADR at the moment);
- Workflow on the ODR platform (e.g. the fact that the dispute will not be referred from an ODR platform to an ADR entity unless the parties agree on the ADR entity hinders the dispute resolution; currently, the ODR platform is perceived as not providing sufficient information on consumer rights and redress options).
The Commission intends to further encourage traders to refer their disputes to ADR/ODR platforms, promoting their use in special campaigns, as well as by organising the second ADR Assembly in 2020. It also indicates in the report best practices on improving the awareness of ADR/ODR platforms in various countries, as well as on how to clarify the ADR landscape (read the full report here).