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ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

Help and advice for consumers in Europe

If something goes wrong when purchasing a product or service, whether online or on the spot, and the seller is not collaborative, you can try to solve the dispute through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR means settling a complaint out of court with the assistance of an impartial dispute resolution body. Resolving consumer disputes this way is easier, faster and less expensive than going to court.

An ADR entity, whether public or private, is neutral and qualified third party which acts as an intermediary between the consumer and the seller and can suggest or impose a solution to the parties or simply assist them in reaching an agreement. ADR entities operating online are called Online Dispute Resolution entities (ODR). Resorting to ODR entities facilitates the resolution of disputes arising from online purchases, as it helps overcome the significant obstacle posed by the geographic distance between the consumer and the seller. The possibility to resolve disputes, especially cross-border ones, in a simple, fast, and cost-effective manner, strengthens consumer confidence in the digital market. The ADR directive, together with the ODR regulation, aims to ensure consumers have access to an ADR procedure for all contractual disputes in every market sector (e.g., travel, banking services, dry cleaning) and in all Member States.

Article 141-octies of the Consumer Code, introduced by the Legislative decree No. 130/2015 implementing the ADR Directive, entrusted the Bank of Italy, the CONSOB, the Ministry of Justice, the MISE, the Authority for Electricity, Gas, and Water System and the Authority for Communications to approve for quality standards relating to fairness, efficiency and accessibility the dispute resolution entities notified to them. To find out which ADR entities have been certified by the competent authorities and notified to the European Commission by the Ministry of Economic Development, the single contact point for consumer ADR, CLICK HERE

Article 20 of the ADR Directive assigned the European Commission the task of maintaining and updating the list of ADR entities notified by individual member states, making it available to the public through a dedicated website.

Directive No. 2013/11/EU applies to extrajudicial resolution procedures for national and cross-border disputes concerning contractual obligations arising from sales or service contracts between professionals and European consumers. These procedures involve the intervention of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entity that proposes or imposes a solution or brings the parties together to facilitate a friendly settlement. The directive aims to ensure that consumers can voluntarily file complaints against professionals before ADR entities that offer independent, impartial, transparent, effective, fast, and fair alternative dispute resolution procedures, thereby achieving a high level of consumer protection and the proper functioning of the internal market.

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