When consumers have a problem with a trader regarding a product or service they bought, they can settle their dispute out-of-court through an Alternative Dispute Resolution or Online Dispute Resolution (ADR / ODR) procedure.
As such procedures are an alternative to resolving disputes before a court they are called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). When they are carried out online, they are called Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).
Resolving disputes through ADR/ODR, in general, is easier, faster and less expensive than resolving disputes before a court.
In the European Union, ADR/ODR procedures can take different forms and they can have different names e.g.arbitration, conci;iation, mediation, ombudsmen, complaints boards.
On 21 May 2013, the European legislator adopted new legislation for ADR - Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC.