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EU consumers could save €22.5 billion a year from new dispute resolution mechanisms

23.05.2013, 06:55 GMT

Impact and implementation of forthcoming legislation on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) to be explored at European Consumer Centre Network Conference

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD will today open the European Consumer Centres’ Network’s (ECC-Net) annual conference which is being held in Dublin Castle under the auspices of the Irish Presidency of the European Council.

Minister Bruton commented “Technology has made it easier for consumers to purchase goods and services across the EU. As a result, it is essential that effective and inexpensive dispute resolution mechanisms such as Alternative Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution are available to consumers throughout the EU to ensure they have redress if things go wrong. These tools will be vital if we are to continue to maximise the benefits of this activity including job creation and economic growth.”

Minister Bruton - "These tools will be vital if we are to continue to maximise the benefits of this activity including job creation and economic growth.”

The Irish European Consumer Centre (ECC Ireland) recently commissioned a report on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Ireland on behalf of the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the findings will be presented at the conference.

Dr. Ann Neville Director of ECC Ireland said “According to recent research, losses experienced by cross-border shoppers are estimated at EUR425 million per annum. The European Commission has estimated that if EU consumers can rely on well-functioning and transparent ADR for their disputes, both national and cross-border, they could save around €22.5 billion a year, corresponding to 0.19% of EU GDP. The ADR Directive and ODR Regulation when implemented will allow business to consumer disputes to be settled fast, effectively and cheaply without going to court. Effective ADR offers both business and consumers a win-win situation encouraging consumers to spend secure in the knowledge that if something goes wrong it is easy for them to access redress while business will avoid the costs of going to court”.

The key note address will be delivered by Professor Christopher Hodges of Oxford University, an international expert in ADR. Other speakers at today’s conference include Brian Hutchinson Senior Lecturer, UCD School of Law who will present current initiatives in ODR while Alan Nolan of The Society of the Irish Motor Industry will give the business perspective.

The conference provides a timely opportunity for all stakeholders to consider the details of the ADR/ODR package which has recently been adopted by the European Council. The ADR/ODR package aims to empower consumers and assist the future development of the Internal Market by enabling consumers and retailers to solve their contractual disputes in a simple, quick and inexpensive manner.


Notes to Editor:

Last month the European Council adopted a directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and a Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). This legislation provides consumers with access to an effective and inexpensive way of solving their disputes with traders, regardless of the goods or services they buy, the means of purchase (online or offline), and the location (their home country or abroad).

The legislation aims to increase consumer confidence and encourage consumers to search more actively for good offers and better prices across the single market, thereby driving competition and economic growth.

ECC Ireland’s report “The Implication of the Proposed ADR Directive for the Resolution of Consumer Disputes in Ireland” will be available on ECC Ireland's website following the conference.

The European Consumer Centre Network is made up of 29 centres (from 1st July 30 with the accession of Croatia) across Europe working together to resolve cross-border consumer complaints in an amicable manner. Promoting awareness of, and access to, Alternative Dispute Resolution is an essential part of ECC-Net’s objectives. The Network is jointly funded by the European Commission and national governments.

The twitter hashtag for the conference is #ECC13

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Caroline Curneen, PR & Marketing Manager at ECC Ireland




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