The Alternative Dispute Resolution of cross-border consumer disputes (ADR)

The ADR Directive (Directive 2013/11/EU) ensures that consumers can turn to quality alternative dispute resolution bodies for all types of contractual disputes they have with professionals, regardless of what they have purchased (with the exception of health and higher education disputes) or whether they have purchased it online or offline, in their country or abroad.

What is an ADR scheme?

An ADR is a third party (conciliator, mediator, complaints office, ombudsman, etc.) that offers a solution to the dispute or brings the parties together to help them find an amicable solution, without going to court. This is why it is called alternative dispute resolution. This allows disputes to be resolved quickly and inexpensively.

What rules apply to these alternative dispute resolution schemes?

Alternative dispute resolution schemes must comply with a number of principles:

  • competence, independence and impartiality,
  • transparency,
  • efficiency (access without a lawyer, moderate cost, speed),
  • freedom (non-binding decision, maintaining the right to bring the case to court),
  • representation (right to be assisted by a lawyer).

Before being able to refer to an alternative dispute resolution system, a complaint must first be sent in writing to the professional concerned, without having been able to obtain a satisfactory response.

In Luxembourg, there are seven out-of-court dispute settlement schemes in the field of consumer law, each one being competent for a specific sector of activity: