So, from now on consumers and traders can resolve the disputes between them online, via the new platform on each of the 23 official EU languages.
The only condition for starting online procedure is the requirement for the EU citizenship or a residence of the respective consumer and trader. The dispute has to be related with an online sale-purchase of goods or services.
The platform is intuitive, easy for access and use by everyone and it is the fastest and the cheapest way for protecting consumer rights. The main purpose is to facilitate the dispute resolution and settling an out of court agreements by a neutral third party, so called "Dispute Resolution Body" (DRB). Via the platform the applicant can easily access and see the full list of all DRBs approved by the Commission for acting in all Member State.
Currently in Bulgaria 15 DRBs meet the standards covering different sector fields.
What is more, the procedure is free of charges. An exception provides that the Body can indicate fees for its activities.
Additionally, for the applicants facilitation were established a national contact point, providing general information on the procedure, on the necessary documents, which facilitates the communication between the consumer and the trader and which also provides a guidance on the whole process.
Helpful information on the procedure is also provided in the section "Frequently Asked Questions" which is extremely detailed.
The procedure for resolving consumer disputes involves 4 stages and takes about 90 days:
1. Submission of the application and start of the procedure.
Currently, a complaint from a trader can be started only in a limited number of countries - Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Poland.
2. Agreement on the dispute resolution body.
In case of agreement the platform automatically sends information to the selected body which should contact the parties. The lack of agreement suspends the procedure.
3. Dispute handling by the DRB.
The selected body has three weeks to decide whether it is competent or not to deal with the dispute. Meanwhile, the DRB may require an additional information on the dispute.
4. Outcome of the procedure.
The dispute resolution body takes its decision within 90 days term.
There is yet to see the real results of the new platform. Undoubtedly, the new platform shall facilitate consumer rights protection and has a great potential to increase the consumer confidence and stimulate the national and the cross-border e-commerce.
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