Although several European countries such as Portugal and The Netherlands brought in similar legislation a long time ago, Luxembourg has published in its Official Gazette, on 14 April 2016, the law of 17 February 2016 introducing alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) for consumer disputes.
Under discussion for more than a year, this law transposes European Directive 2013/11/EU of the Parliament and of the Council and follows European Regulation n° 524/2013.
The general aims of the Directive (high level of consumer protection, development of the internal market, reinforcement of trust and presence of a common European regulation) are contained in the Luxembourg law.
The new Luxembourg law (still awaiting further regulation) establishes not only various conditions with which any entity intending to become an ADR entity must comply, but also creates a new entity generally in charge of ADR – the Consumer Mediator.
All entities intending to be considered as ADR entities and as such notified to the European Commission must comply with several conditions, including:
- having an updated website;
- allowing the introduction of claims offline;
- allowing the exchange of information by electronic or non-electronic means;
- being in charge of national and cross-border disputes; and
- ensuring that the legislation on personal data is respected.
The mediation between entities shall be subject to professional secrecy and available for free or at a notional cost.
The Consumer Mediator, nominated by the Government, shall act as a point of contact and a service for the resolution of consumer disputes. It shall inform consumers about the means available, receive all requests and forward them to the competent entity and be in charge of the dispute resolution if there is no specific competent entity. Professional secrecy is mandatory and the intervention of the Mediator is not subject to any fees.
The procedure adopted by both ADR entities and the Consumer Mediator is chosen by the parties and is quick, and a solution with specific outcomes can be provided. The general prescription periods are suspended during the procedure.
Considering the ‘newborn’ Luxembourg law is yet to be regulated before entering into force, we must wait and see if these measures, so popular in other European countries, will have the same success in Luxembourg where the available data states that over 75% of the population expects justice.