Trade Leaders' Guide: What new requirements for traders has BEUC recommended to be introduced in the EU ADR Directive?

Some months ago, the European consumer organization BEUC issued recommendations to the European Commission for changes to the ADR Directive 2013/11/EU.

After consulting a number of organizations dealing with consumer rights and alternative consumer dispute resolution, the organization has come to the conclusion that the directive is not applied sufficiently comprehensively across the various business sectors and EU member states.

Areas for improvement have been defined, and of particular importance is the one related to traders' reluctance to participate in ADR procedures for complaints against them. BEUC recommends that traders should be obliged to participate in consumer disputes, to participate in good faith and not pro forma and when concluding an agreement, to honour it and not to refuse to pay compensation.

The organization recommends that state authorities should require ADR bodies to regularly report and make public a list of traders who refuse to participate in ADR procedures, do not participate in good faith and do not comply with the agreed terms of ADR agreements.

Of course, the question immediately arises here, to what extent this will lead the traders to build trust and a positive attitude towards the process and whether the principle of voluntariness, which is fundamental in mediation, is not compromised.

There is also a discussion regarding whether the participation in the alternative dispute resolution procedure itself should be mandatory for the trader, or whether it should still remain voluntary, but the trader's participation in ADR structures, such as NAIS, should be mandatory. In this way, the trader will have the freedom to decide whether to enter the dispute resolution procedure or not, in the event that he already had an agreement in principle or, on the contrary, there is none and the consumer's complaint is escalated to the CPC, which makes participation in conciliation procedure non-sense.

In any case, whether participation in alternative dispute resolution schemes such as the National Association for Out-of-court Settlements is mandatory or not, their membership in such a structure is a matter of prestige and an extremely positive image. In this way, they demonstrate a willingness to respond to their customers' complaints, which indicates a proactive attitude to the cases of dissatisfied consumers and a willingness to improve the quality of their customer service.

Read how a trader can become an associate member of NAIS in the About Traders page on the association's website

You can learn more about the benefits of addressing complaints from dissatisfied customers in publications from the Trade Leaders' Guide section in the News page of

Published on 13.10.2023 Back to news