This is the first article of a series that will be concentrated on alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Its goal is to make you, the reader, whether you are a consumer or a business, acquainted with the ADR as well as to show you the importance and potential of digital technologies when it comes to alternative dispute resolution.
This first article is going to present to you the Online dispute platform (ODR Platform) and the European ADR Directive which is the legal source of everything that we are going to see in this series.
The online dispute resolution platform, or the ODR Platform, was established by the European Commission in 2016. The platform thus found its home on the website of the European Commission.
But what exactly is this platform good for?
Actually, it has more than one function. But it is only designed for disputes that derive from contracts concluded online between consumers and traders.
The main role of the platform is to be a safe space for consumers and businesses to communicate and find solutions to problems. This can be done using two different tools, the Direct Talk, on which you can communicate with the other party, or by submitting a formal, which is an online complaint that is passed on to an ADR body competent to deal with the case.
In cases where it is not possible to find a common understanding between the two parties, the platform thus provides information about different national ADR Bodies. It is about more than 400 of these Bodies from all EU states as well as Norway, Lichtenstein, and Island that are concerned.
You can also find information about your national ODR contact point, where you can get more information about the platform, ADR, and the legal framework of b2c cases.
Seems interesting, right? Definitively, but like every other tech invention, this platform has room for improvement too despite the existing positive and innovative tools and aspects.
What can be improved?
Although the platform has a nice design, the UI (User Interface) can be improved. Navigating through different parts of the platform can be confusing and the information found can seem unclear. But if you find yourself lost on the platform, you can always contact your national ODR contact point, and they will be happy to help you out and answer all your questions.
The existing tools need some fine-tuning. For example, the translation tab can sometimes give you funky answers, but it is a secure way of translating because it uses an integrated and secure tool that is compliant with EU’s data protection regulations. The platform altogether has a lot of places to grow, be it by adding new tools or making the existing ones better.
A general evaluation
The ODR platform is a modern approach to everyday problems that come with border-crossing cases that are typical for the EU. The accessibility of the platform and the translating tool makes it so that the customers and businesses from different EU member states seem closer to each other and make the potential language barrier disappear.
The adventure should go on but needs fine-tuning.
Aleksandra DUBOVAC – M2 Cyberjustice – Promotion 2021/2022
BRAUN und THEVIS, Verbraucherstreitbeilegung – niedrigschwellige Verfahren für alle, aber auch für Massen?, Konflikt Dynamik, 10.Jahrgang, Heft 3/2021, s. 180 ff