Have you experienced a problem with a company from Germany or another EU country? Most disputes between consumers and companies can be resolved amicably through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body.

If the contract has been concluded online, consumers can use the European Commissions Online Dispute Resolution Platform (ODR platform) to contact the relevant ADR body. Although a complaint can be filed against a company through the ODR platform, consumers and traders can also try to find a solution through direct talks. If an agreement cannot be reached jointly, the company may consult an appropriate ADR body through the platform.

There are recognised ADR bodies across Europe that help consumers and companies resolve their disputes. In the case of small claims in particular, consumers are often disincentivised to go to court. In such cases, ADR bodies can be an effective alternative. They are unbiased, responsive and competent, and are mostly free of charge for consumers.

The ODR platform provides a centralised access point to all accredited ADR bodies in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The competent ADR body can usually be found in the country in which the company is located. The ODR platform also includes a translation tool to help overcome language barriers.  As the national contact point for the ODR platform, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Germany advises consumers and traders on how to use the platform and how the ADR bodies work.

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