Thursday, February 02, 2017

Sumfink wot someone else wrote

We have had a little run of queries about the grandly entitled “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)”. This little beauty required anyone selling online to add a link to their website directing customers to the online dispute resolution system set up by the EU. 

The Regulation says: “The definition of ‘online sales or service contract’ should cover a sales or service contract where the trader, or the trader’s intermediary, has offered goods or services through a website or by other electronic means and the consumer has ordered those goods or services on that website or by other electronic means. This should also cover cases where the consumer has accessed the website or other information society service through a mobile electronic device such as a mobile telephone. “

For our money, but you should, of course, check with a lawyer, the service that most of you offer does not fall into that definition at present. Although you use your web site as a shop front, the debtor or director, as the Regulation only applies to customers who are individuals, actually obtains the service by interacting with you. In volume IVA providers that may take place on the phone, with some physical interaction as well. Although some data is passed online and signatures may be provided electronically, this is not, in our view, an online transaction. In contrast, our families’ seemingly endless use of Amazon from lap top, tablet and phone would qualify!

There are some IPs who offer a wholly online service for MVLs, or even CVLs. We are not going to enter the debate about the suitability of that platform for an insolvency procedure, but anyone that is offering a wholly online service should certainly add the link to their site.

Having said that, for the sake of safety, it probably would not do any harm to add a link to the ODR to your web site, as long as you make it clear that it will only cover online dealings. It would not be the first time, and I am sure it won’t be the last, where we have decided that the line of least resistance is the safest.

For those of you that would like to include the link, it is: