Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Online
Dispute Resolution service offered by ECODIR?
Online Dispute Resolution is a new
way to resolve disputes arising out of online transactions.
The ECODIR Online Dispute Resolution
service is completely Web-based and was specifically
designed to solve cross - border disputes, where resorting
to courts is often impracticable because the high costs
and delays are disproportionate compared to the amount
ECODIR provides a secure private
web-space in which the parties to a dispute can negotiate
a mutually acceptable solution using ECODIR's negotiation
process. The parties can call for the help of a qualified
ECODIR mediator to assist them in solving their dispute
if they both wish.
ECODIR does not make any binding
decisions or pass judgment. Only the Parties can agree
to a binding settlement and they are free to pull out
of the process at any stage if they prefer.
The ECODIR interface is designed
to ensure easy navigation. The system allows the Parties
to participate in the process at any time; wherever
they are located.
ECODIR invites you to have a look
at the Process Overview and the Process in Detail for
further information. Please feel free to contact us
at email@example.com if
you have any comments or queries.
What are the
pros and cons of ECODIR for the consumer?
ECODIR helps consumers find a solution
through a flexible, inexpensive and quick process.
Consumers can file their case from any computer connected
to the Internet - everything takes place on-line!
The neutral environment of ECODIR
helps consumers to reach a "win-win" solution
that is satisfactory to them as well as to
the business party. The consumer is given a clear view
of each step taken in the process, and, since the process
is voluntary, the consumer retains control over the
outcome of the case.
ECODIR does not displace consumers'
other entitlements - a consumer remains free to pursue
other dispute resolution processes or to go to court
after, or even during, the ECODIR process. In short,
a consumer has little to lose by using ECODIR.
But consumers should take care while
engaged in ECODIR that no time limits for Consumer
Guarantees or for commencement of court action will
expire. ECODIR would encourage consumers to know their
rights and obligations, and to seek information about
consumer protection law through informative Websites
or to obtain professional advice or representation.
What are the
pros and cons of ECODIR for businesses?
ECODIR is particularly useful for
any busniess that is concerned about increasing consumer
confidence - especially in on-line sales. A customer
who knows that a business agrees to use ECODIR knows
that if they have any complaints or disputes the business
has an efficient and effective process for dealing
ECODIR also gives businesses greater
control over the management of consumer complaints
and claims. All consumer complaints and claims are
presented directly to the business in an easily digested
format in the secure web space. This makes it easier
for the business to process the complaint or claim;
to filter valid ones from spurious ones; and even to
identify recurring problems in their own products or
services. And, of course, ECODIR gives businesses an
opportunity to avoid expensive, lengthy and public
court actions which may damage their business reputations.
And there is nothing to lose! The
neutral environment of ECODIR helps Parties reach a
win-win solution. But, since the process is completely
voluntary at each stage, the business is under no obligation
to respond to any claims, or to enter negotiation or
mediation, or to abide by any solution it has not agreed
It is also important for businesses
to know their rights and obligations. That is why ECODIR
encourages Parties to seek information about consumer
protection law and electronic commerce law throughout
informative Websites or, wher enecessary, to obtain
professional advice or representation.
What are the
conditions for applying?
Before filing a case you must ensure
that the following conditions are met:
The dispute arose out of an online
The dispute involves at least one consumer;
The dispute does not concern illicit content, corporal damages, family, taxation
and intellectual property issues.
You also have to ensure that the
time necessary to find a solution through the ECODIR
process and to implement it does not deprive you of
a right to bring an action before the courts due to
the expiry of a deadline or statutory limitation.
What is Negotiation?
Negotiation involves only the two
Parties to a dispute and often represents the first
contact after the beginning of the dispute.
ECODIR provides a confidential, secure
and economical tool to help find a solution. Throughout
the Negotiation process, the Parties are guided in
identifying the issue and in proposing constructive
solutions that can eventually be formalized as a settlement.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process based on the
intervention of a neutral third party, the Mediator.
The solution remains in the hands of the disputing
Parties but the Mediator helps them to communicate:
to diffuse emotions, to identify key issues and to
find solutions that could satisfy both Parties. The
Mediator helps each Party to understand the others
perspective and interests and to agree to compromise
and find a mutually acceptable solution.
ECODIR provides the Parties with
a confidential, secure and economic tool to communicate
with the Mediator and one another and reach a practical
solution. The Mediation process helps Parties reach
a solution with a specialized ECODIR Mediator that
canform the basis of a settlement.
How to Negotiate/Mediate?
Participation in Negotiation or Mediation
is completely voluntary. That is why Negotiation or
Mediation is more effective when the Parties collaborate
to find a solution:
- It is important that the Parties
check and respond to ECODIR emails daily during the
It is important that the Parties make their best effort to reach an agreement.
It is important to understand the other Partys point of view and to
tackle the issues with an open mind.
- It may be helpful not to
initiate any arbitration or judicial proceedings
in respect of the dispute during the ECODIR process,
except where such proceedings are necessary to
safeguard your rights e.g. to prevent a time limit
or deadline from expiring. It is important to be
informed about the legal issues of the dispute.
What is the ECODIR
If the Parties are not able to find
a solution to the dispute following the mediation phase,
the Mediator issues a motivated recommendation that
is not binding. The recommendation is based on the
information given by the Parties during the negotiation
and mediation phases. Guided by principles of fairness
and justice, the Mediator acts as an independent expert
and offers a solution based on the rights and obligations
of the Parties and the principle of good faith.
The ECODIR Recommendation is the
ultimate attempt to find a solution to the dispute.
The Parties are still free to accept the Recommendation,
which may then be formalized in a settlement. It also
allows the Parties to test the strength of their case
before pursuing their efforts to reach a solution through
other judicial channels.
What is the language
of the proceedings?
The ECODIR web space operates through
English with help in English and French. Support provided
by the ECODIR secretariat can be in English and French.
However, the language of the proceedings
in each case will be the common language of the parties
- no matter what language they choose. The parties
can communicate via ECODIR in any language.
By default, the language of the dispute's
resolution will be the language of the transaction
that gave rise to the dispute.
the legal effect of a settlement concluded online?
It is important to remember that each Partys' consent to a settlement must
be confirmed by them before it can be concluded. The settlement reached online
is then considered a contract between the Parties and one which in many jurisdictions
binds the parties finally. ECODIR generates a record of the agreement for
the parties which they can use to prove the content of the contract.
In general, parties to agreements
reached through Negotiation or Mediation implement
them voluntarily in more than 80% of the cases. This
statistic is not exclusive to ECODIR, of course, but
we have every reason to expect that similar results
will be achieved using ECODIR.
What can I do in the absence
If your case is not settled, you
remain free to pursue other efforts, including court
action. Unless the Parties agree otherwise, they accept
under the ECODIR rules when entering the process that
they will keep all communications and information exchanged
during the Negotiation, Mediation or Recommendation
phases confidential. These cannot be used
in any other context or dispute reolution forum. The
ECODIR process is kept confidential in order to enhance
the chance of the Parties finding a solution. Settlement
agrements can, of course, be produced in other forums
to secure compliance if necessary.
Is it possible to be represented?
It is possible for both Parties to
be represented by a lawyer or a third Party who can
make binding decisions on behalf of the Party they
represent. When a Party discloses its personal identification
number, that Party implicitly accepts the consequences
of actions taken on their behalf in the process. By
using the personal identification number, the Party
Is it possible to be assisted?
ECODIR encourages Parties to contact
specialists or representatives of associations to learn
about consumers rights and obligations, including
the mandatory rules protecting consumers. These resource
persons will not have a direct role in the process
but may be contacted by email, phone, fax or other
means of communication.
Remember that these resource persons
might not have the opportunity to assist rapidly.