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Brussels, 30 May 2012

Commission welcomes the Council's agreement on a General approach on proposals for easier, faster and cheaper solutions to disputes with traders

Today the Council agreed on a general approach for an EU legislation on Alternative and Online Dispute Resolution (ADR/ODR) which will make it easier for consumers and businesses to solve problems and disputes.

European Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, made the following statement:

"This political endorsement by the Council is a first step andis good news for Europe's 500 million consumers since – once adopted – this new package of legislation will help them solving disputes with traders without having to go to court. In the future, it will be possible for consumers to have faster, easier and cheaper solutions to disputes with traders (both online and offline).

This is a good start and I look forward to the outcome of negotiations with the European Parliament with a view to final adoption of the package by the co-legislator by the end of 2012."

The fact that EU governments made progress so quickly on these proposals adopted by the Commission only six months ago, reflects the importance that Member States attach to putting consumers at the heart of the Single Market. Only consumers who are aware of their rights and know how to use them can fully exploit the potential of the Single Market thus contributing to enhance innovation and growth. It is therefore vital to create the right conditions to harness the consumers' potential to the benefit of the European economy, consumers themselves and businesses."

Once adopted by the co-legislators, the proposals currently on the table will provide for mechanisms to solve disputes with traders without having to go to court. These Alternative and Online Dispute Resolution mechanisms- ADR and ODR will help European consumers to sort out their problems, wherever and however they purchase a product or service in the EU.


The ADR-ODR package covers:

  • A Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that will ensure that quality ADR entities exist in all the EU Member States to deal with any contractual dispute between a consumer and a trader;

  • A Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution that via a EU-wide online platform will provide consumers and businesses with a single point of entry for resolving on-line the disputes.

EU Ministers have also pointed out the need for some flexibility in the new legislation, for example by allowing ADR entities, under the respect of strict conditions, to be funded by traders and to introduce procedural rules to ensure their effective operation.

For more information: IP/11/1461

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