It has been confirmed that online businesses will have an extended timeframe in which to comply with new obligations to signpost customers to the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform being set up by the EU Commission.
As we have previously reported, the EU ODR Regulation which came into force last year (and was implemented in the UK as part of new ADR Regulations) includes a requirement that, from 9 January 2016, all businesses selling goods or services online within the EU carry a link on their website (and in some cases in their contractual terms) to the ODR Platform. While businesses have been preparing to comply with the obligation by 9 January, the missing piece of information to enable them to do so has been the ODR Platform website address, which has not yet been released by the EU Commission.
The UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has now confirmed that it has been advised by the EU Commission that the 'go live' date for the ODR Platform has been delayed to 15 February 2016. Businesses will therefore now not be required to carry a link to the ODR Platform until it is launched on this new date. BIS has confirmed:
'We can reassure you that although the date of 9 January remains in our Regulations, we fully understand that it will not be possible for businesses to meet this date as the ODR platform will not yet be launched. There will of course be no question of enforcement action before 15 February".
We will continue to monitor and report when the link to the ODR Platform becomes available. The EU Commission's most recent factsheet can be accessed here.
UPDATE 1.2.16: The EU Commission has now announced the website address for the ODR Platform, which will be operational from 15 February: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/