Hungary: On-line platform aids independent, transparent, rapid out-of-court settlement of disputes between consumers and traders.
The European Union (EU) has created an on-line platform in order to ensure consumer protection at the highest possible level. The platform promotes independent, transparent, rapid out-of-court settlement of disputes between consumers and traders. The aim is to offer the parties an alternative method to protracted, expensive in-court procedures. The dispute settlement platform (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/) is an interactive website, available electronically and for free in all the EU official languages. Consumers can easily use the website to settle their legal disputes arising from on-line shopping.
The new platform (available from 15 February 2016) works as a single point of contact between consumers and traders. After registration and login consumers can file their complaint on the website if they have not managed to settle their legal dispute directly with traders. After filing, the platform immediately forwards the complaint to the other party. After this the parties have to agree on an alternative dispute settlement forum which will ultimately act in their dispute. In some EU member states, where appropriate, more than one such forum can be available to the parties, which is why the regulation provides options. After this the on-line platform forwards the complaint to the dispute settlement forum and from this point the forum acts in the matter (as a first step the forum informs the parties about the rules of procedure and, in given cases, about the expenses of the dispute settlement procedure). In addition, the new platform aids the disputing parties with a new ‘helpdesk’ service, which translates from one language into another and informs the consumer, the web shop and acting dispute settlement forum at their email address about each significant event (all of this in the EU official language chosen by the parties).
In this connection, EU legislation obligates on-line European web shops to show on their website (in a place easily accessible to consumers) an electronic link to the on-line dispute settlement platform (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/) and their email address. In addition, traders who are obligated to use the alternative dispute settlement forum during the settlement of legal disputes with consumers (as a result of their own decision or due to legislative obligations) must inform consumers shopping in the web shop about the general terms and conditions of the on-line platform.
Source: Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (Regulation on consumer ODR)