As promised, here is some clarification of the rules regarding ODR namely Online Dispute Resolution which is linked with but separate from ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In short, most traders with a website will need to include a link to the European Online Dispute Resolution scheme which came into being along with the ADR rules and Regulations.
It is designed for EU cross border consumer complaints but can be used by consumers for internal complaints.
It may sound a bit of a faff but in reality, aside from having to add a sentence to their website (and promotional emails), there is nothing further to do for those traders who have no obligation to participate in ADR. This is because all that happens once consumers register a complaint to the ODR portal is that they are sent a list of Trading Standards approved ADR providers. The consumer can then approach whichever ADR provider they like but then the normal ADR rules apply and so again, unless the trader is part of a Trade Association which requires them to do so, they do not have to participate.
So, your only obligation as a trader who isn’t a member of a Trade Association is to add a link to the portal.
By way of an example, to see how online marketplace Amazon promote the ODR service, click on the ‘conditions of use and sale’ link found at the very bottom of their home page and scroll all the way down to paragraph 14 and read the penultimate paragraph which states:
“The European Commission provides for an online dispute resolution platform, which you can access here: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/.”