Revision of alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution framework to improve the enforcement of consumer law

In “A New Push for European Democracy”

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Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) aims to ensure redress for consumers without them having to go to court. Digital markets require fast and simple redress mechanisms. ADR legislation must be updated to meet those requirements.

Between April 2022 and June 2022, the Commission organised a public consultation to collect views on the alternative dispute resolution framework.  121 responses were received. Whilst the respondents who already used once such an alternative dispute resolution scheme, they stressed the importance of advertising  campaigns to raise the awareness on the existence of such schemes. They also stressed the relevance of specific support to help the consumers in their recourse to the alternative dispute schemes.

Based on Article 114 TFEU, the initiative is set to modernize the alternative dispute resolution framework (in particular Directive 2013/11EU and Regulation (EU) 524/2013 in view of the rapid development of online markets and advertising and the need to ensure that consumers have access to fair, neutral and efficient dispute resolution systems.

On 17 October 2023, the Commission adopted a proposal  for a directive amending Directive 2013/11/EU on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes,
as well as Directives (EU) 2015/2302, (EU) 2019/2161 and (EU) 2020/1828.

The Commission aims at updating and simplifying rules on out-of-court dispute resolution to adapt them to digital markets. This proposal will expand the range of issues that can be resolved through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directive out-of-court, including matters related to misleading advertising, access to services and unjustified geoblocking. To facilitate consumers access to this framework, designated bodies such as the European Consumer Centres Network will assist consumers in understanding and accessing alternative dispute resolution procedures. The goal of the proposal is also to accelerate the procedures.

The Commission also adopted today a Recommendation to align online marketplaces dispute resolution systems with the European standards for fair and efficient Alternative Dispute Resolution.



Author: Clément Evroux, Members' Research Service,

As of 23/11/2023.