Do you sell online? 15 February 2016 was the deadline date to update your website for compliance with the online dispute resolution platform.

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Do you sell online? 15 February 2016 was the deadline date to update your website for compliance with the online dispute resolution platform.

At a minimum if you sell online you must include online 1. an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform of the European Commission on your website; and 2. an email address for consumers to use if they have a dispute with you.

What does this mean for my online selling business?

This is European Consumer Protection Law that applies across Europe for traders established within the European Union (EU).

The aim of the European Online Dispute Resolution platform is to provide an “independent, impartial, transparent, effective, fast and fair out - of – court resolution of disputes between consumers and traders online”.

On your website, at  a minimum you must include:

  • an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform of the European Commission; and
  • an email address for consumers to use if they have a dispute with you.
     

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform is operational since 15 February and is accessible via the Europa site:
http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/

In addition if you are committed or obliged to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entity to resolve disputes then you have additional obligations on your website:

You must:

  • include an electronic link to the ODR platform in an email if you are making a commercial offer via email; and
  • include information on the existence of the ODR platform in your terms and conditions for online contracts.

The rules apply to both online sale and service contracts.

Offence if fail to comply with selling online rules and obligations


Contravention of this law is an offence since 9 January 2016.

However the ODR platform only became operation on 15 February 2016 so you must comply by this date.

The penalty on conviction in the District Court is a Class A fine (currently a maximum fine of €5,000) and/or 12 months imprisonment.

Ireland ODR contact point

The European Consumer Centre Ireland has been designated as the Irish ODR contact point. They will provide support to the resolution of a dispute.

Relevant Legislation 

EU Directive 2013/11 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes.

EU Regulation No. 524/2013 Online Dispute Resolution for consumer disputes as implemented in Ireland by the EU (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 500/2015)

To learn more or if you would like us to carry out a review of your website to check it for legal compliance please contact us.

Disclaimer

The material in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or taxation advice. Specific legal and taxation advice should be sought before acting. All information and taxation rules are subject to change without notice.

No liability whatsoever is accepted by M. McLoughlin & Co. for any action taken in reliance on the information in this article

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