The ODR Regulation which has recently come into effect aims to provide consumers with a speedy, impartial, low-cost solution to disputes arising from online transactions. The regulation applies directly across the EU and follows on from the EU Directive on Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution that was transposed on 9 July 2015 (see here). The new rules impose penalties (including potential criminal liability) on traders who fail to comply with the new obligations. 

As part of the new package, the European Commission has created an EU-wide online platform (see here) which will enable consumers and traders to settle disputes for both domestic and cross-border purchases. The European Consumer Centre Ireland has been designated as the ODR contact point in Ireland and will assist with the implementation of the ODR Regulation.

As well as establishing the framework for regulating online disputes, the ODR Regulation also imposes a number of obligations on traders, contravention of which can result in fines and, in certain circumstances, criminal liability for officers of the company.

The ODR platform is an important contribution to the EU’s Digital Single Market and will have significant implications for online traders and the manner in which online disputes are resolved in the future.