Do you sell online

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At a minimum if you sell online you must include online:

  • an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform of the European Commission on your website; and
  • an email address for consumers to use if they have a dispute with you.

What does this mean for my online selling business?

You must decide if you want to use the Online Dispute Resolution process.

You must provide information to consumers on your site.

The rules apply across the Europe for traders established within the European Union (EU).

The aim of the European Online Dispute Resolution platform is to provide an “independent, impartial, transparent, effective, fast and fair out - of – court resolution of disputes between consumers and traders online”.

According to the Europa.eu website

"The Online Dispute Resolution platform (ODR platform)

The ODR platform is a web-based platform developed by the European Commission. Its objective is to help consumers and traders resolve their contractual disputes about online purchases of goods and services out-of-court at a low cost in a simple and fast way.

It allows consumers to submit their disputes online in any of the 23 official languages of the European Union. The ODR platform transmits the disputes only to the quality dispute resolution bodies communicated by Member States.

Member States have to establish a national contact point to provide assistance to users of the ODR platform. The list of these national contact points is available on the ODR platform.

The ODR platform is accessible to consumers and traders since 15 February 2016.

What Must I Do

On your website, you must include:

  • an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform of the European Commission; and
  • an email address for consumers to use if they have a dispute with you. 

To facilitate online traders the Europa.eu website provide the following information and resources for online traders:

“Online traders that commit or are obliged to use ADR must inform consumers of the dispute resolution body/bodies by which they are covered. They should do this on their websites and in the general terms and conditions of sales or service contracts.

They are required to provide a link (i.e. http://ec.europa.eu/odr) from their website to the ODR platform. To signpost the ODR platform, traders can use the following clickable web-banners that are available in the different EU languages.”

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform is accessible via the Europa site:
http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/

In addition if you are committed or obliged to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entity to resolve disputes then you have additional obligations on your website:

You must:

  • include an electronic link to the ODR platform in an email if you are making a commercial offer via email; and
  • include information on the existence of the ODR platform in your terms and conditions for online contracts.

The rules apply to both online sale and service contracts.

It is an offence if fail to comply with selling online rules and obligations

The penalty on conviction in the District Court is a Class A fine (currently a maximum fine of €5,000) and/or 12 months imprisonment.

Ireland ODR contact point

The European Consumer Centre Ireland has been designated as the Irish ODR contact point.

They will provide support to the resolution of a dispute.

To learn more please contact us.

Disclaimer

The material in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or taxation advice. Specific legal and taxation advice should be sought before acting. All information and taxation rules are subject to change without notice.

No liability whatsoever is accepted by Train With Us Limited for any action taken in reliance on the information in this article.

© Michelle McLoughlin 2016.

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