Consumers can solve disputes by using alternative dispute resolution

12. 4. 2016

As of 1st February 2016 it came into effect an amendment of the Consumer protection law which enables to solve disputes between consumers and sellers by using alternative dispute resolution. Sellers are obliged to inform consumers that there are new ways of alternative dispute resolutions.

Alternative dispute resolution is usually used for litigations whose aim is to reach agreement. Such disputes are not difficult, and their solution is less expensive and time consuming. The consumer has the right to use the alternative dispute resolution for purchase contracts and contracts concerning providing services. The amendment doesn't include contracts in the area of health care and drugs, non-economic general interest and contracts with providers of higher education. A typical example would be a dispute from asserted warranty claim.

The seller has following duties:

1) To inform consumers clearly and exactly about subjects-matter institutions of alternative dispute resolution
2) The information has to include website address of the subject-matter institution
3) Such information has to be mentioned in terms and conditions of each contract

The subject-matter institutions of alternative dispute resolution are:

1) Finanční arbitr v oblasti finančních služeb / The Financial Arbiter
2) Český telekomunikační úřad / Czech Telecommunication Office
3) Energetický regulační úřad / Energy Regulatory Office
4) Česká obchodní inspekce / Czech Trade Inspection Authority

If the above-mentioned duties aren't fullfilled, the seller exposes the risk of administrative delict. The fine for such delict amounts to 1 million Czech crowns.

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