This is the second article in a series that will be concentrated on alternative dispute resolution.
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 article is going to show you how a consumer from anywhere in Europe, may use the online form on the website of the General Conciliation Body Germany in order to resolve issues they have with businesses based in this country.
You, a simple consumer, have bought an item online from Germany. As it often happens in life, things did not go according to the plan, and now you find yourself in a tricky situation. Not only your item did not arrive, but the vendor does not seem to be willing to hear you out. What do you do?
The answer is simple! You submit a request online using the form on the website of the General Conciliation Body Germany for alternative dispute resolution, and you do it from the comfort of your home, 100 % online! And free of cost for consumers!
What kind of Body is that General Conciliation Germany thing, you ask?
The residual ADR Body Germany is one of the 28 alternative dispute resolution bodies in Germany, but it is a special one because it has the function of dealing with so-called residual cases. Residual cases are not treated by one of the other ADR Bodies in Germany that are specialized in a certain domain, for instance, cases that deal with insurance or banks, energy, public transportation, and many more. These are competent for several hundreds of companies whereas the General Conciliation Body is competent for the rest: about 3 million in Germany!
You need to be a citizen of the European Union or Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland or have your permanent stay there, in order to submit a case.
Don’t get scared! It may seem a bit complicated but it is not. The General Conciliation Body Germany also has a signposting function, which means that if you are wrong with filing a complaint here, they will direct you toward the right ADR Body or institution.
Great, but how do you submit your request for alternative dispute resolution?
First, you need to make an account. While doing that you will fill out personal information such as your name and address. The online form will help you to think of everything that the ADR body needs to go on with your case, such as the name and the website of the business as well as their address, the customer and order number, etc. Those are all pieces of information that you can easily find online.
However, there is the possibility to write a classic letter or an e-mail to file a case – but more than two-thirds use the online form, and figures are going up.
Do not worry, your personal data is being protected by EU standards and stored in the EU. We will take a closer look at how cybersecurity and data protection is taken care of at the General Conciliation Body Germany in a later article.
Then you will be asked to write about your issue and what happened. Here you can be as talkative as you like – no formalities to be taken care of. It is better to describe what happened in detail while trying to stay clear and precise. Here, you can also add documents that further explain or support your complaint.
Once that is done you simply press the send or submit button and you wait for a response. Someone from the General Conciliation Body Germany will contact you and tell you what will be done next.
You see: filing a complaint online from the website of the General Conciliation Body Germany is simple and nothing to be scared of. In addition, this ADR procedure will help you find common ground with the business that you chose for a certain reason so you can continue it, be their customer in the future and have good cooperation.
Aleksandra Dubovac – M2 Cyberjustice – Promotion 2021/2022
CECMC Rapport d’activite 2019-2021, Les experiences etrangeres, Interview with Felix Braun CEO of the General Conciliation Body Germany