New obligations for eTraders

Break it to me gently..

From 15 February 2016 online retailers based in the EU now have additional obligations thanks to a new EU rule which came into force on that date. The rule concerns the European Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform which has been put in place by the European Commission to provide a forum through which consumers may seek to resolve disputes when they feel the retailer’s own after-sales service has been unsatisfactory or non existent.

What do I have to do?

You are now obliged to add a link to the ODR platform in a visible and accessible place on your eCommerce site. We’d recommend adding it to your terms and conditions. A suggested wording might be:
“If you are dissatisfied with our products or services we would very much welcome the opportunity to address this. Please email us at [[email protected]]. Alternatively if you feel this is not a viable option you may submit your grievance to an online dispute resolution process which is operated by the European Commission.”

Sounds Expensive!

The process is free for the consumer. The online retailer bears the costs of the process which at the time of writing work out as follows:

  • e100 once-off registration fee
  • +e00 per case in Conciliation
  • +e100 additional per case that moves to Mediation
  • +e50 per case that moves to Adjudication

And if I choose to ignore this?

Best not. Online retailers who breach Article 14 of the ODR Regulation will under the new rules be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a class A fine up to(e5,000) and/or 12 months’ imprisonment.