The ODR portal helps to resolve disputes between buyers and sellers living in different EU member states and not speaking the same language. This gives consumers and firms easy, fast and inexpensive access to resolve disputes out of court.
The ODR portal is linked to all European dispute resolution bodies registered by the individual EU member states with the European Commission as observing the requirements of EU legislation.
The ODR portal can be accessed via this link: http://ec.europa.eu/odr
In this article you can read more about regulatory EU requirements for firms, how the portal functions and how you can get help if you have questions. In the FAQ section you can also find answers to frequently asked questions about the ODR portal.
Requirements to be met by firms
EU legislation includes two different information requirements to be met by firms selling to consumers. One requirement applies to all firms with websites, while the other applies to firms that also sell online. In other words, firms selling online must meet both requirements.
Information about relevant dispute resolution body and link to ODR portal
All firms are comprised by the requirement to inform consumers of the relevant dispute resolution body if they wish to complain. This applies even if the firm does not sell anything via its website. However, a few sectors are exempted – purchase and sale of real property, healthcare services and education & training offered by the public sector.
If the firm also sells products or services to consumers online, it must also provide information about the option to use the ODR portal. The firm does this by linking to the ODR portal from its website and in its general terms & conditions for agreements (if any). If the firm sends offers to consumers by email, the firm must include a link to the portal in the email. The firm must state its own email address on its website as customers need the email address when submitting complaints via the portal.
Information about the portal and the relevant dispute resolution body must also be provided to the customer in writing if the firm rejects a complaint.
The link to the ODR portal is http://ec.europa.eu/odr
- Example of compliance with information requirement
- Example of compliance with link requirement
- The Danish Consumer Complaints Act’s provisions on the obligation to provide information (sections 4 and 5)
How the portal works
The ODR portal has been designed to help consumers who have shopped online in another EU member state and wish to complain about the purchase.
A consumer can submit a complaint in his/her own language. The ODR portal machine translates the complaint into the seller’s language.
When the firm receives the complaint via the portal, it must suggest a relevant dispute resolution body. The ODR portal is linked to all European dispute resolution bodies registered by the individual EU member states with the European Commission as observing the requirements of EU legislation.
If the customer accepts the dispute resolution body suggested by the firm, the complaint will automatically be forwarded to that body for handling.
If the customer and the firm cannot agree on a dispute resolution body, the complaint is not forwarded from the ODR portal. The customer will automatically be notified of this and may then choose to press the Help button to get advice on how to proceed from there.
It is voluntary for the firm to use the ODR portal.
Consumers and firms can use the ODR portal free of charge. However, the dispute resolution body chosen may charge a fee. Information about this can be found on the ODR portal.
Did you not find the answer you were looking for?
If you are in doubt as to what the rules mean for precisely your firm, or if you need help to implement them correctly, you should contact European Consumer Centre Denmark.