eBay welcomes the opportunity offered by the European Commission to share its views and experience with regard to effective dispute resolution. eBay firmly believes that online dispute resolution mechanisms can give consumers an efficient and straightforward means to safeguard their rights. Our positive experience with our own systems means we continue to promote - and where possible improve - our tools, which remain popular with both buyers and sellers on our platforms.
We believe there are, at least, three elements of successful dispute resolution. First, the dispute resolution mechanism is there for the use of both buyers and sellers / consumers and businesses. Second, most problems are best resolved with early and direct communication between the trading partners. Third, there are major advantages with an online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanism for reasons of practicality, effectiveness and cost.
It is crucial that the European legal landscape allows for private internal dispute handling systems and refrains from imposing a straightjacket. Here, we believe the current framework of two Commission Recommendations setting out minimum guarantees is satisfactoy. It has the necessary flexibility so that ADR or ODR systems can be set up by industry internally to provide for quick and simple resolution, can be adapted to the specific disputes and can be further developed based on experience. Indeed, policy efforts to encourage consumers and traders to use ADR must promote and endorse existing systems, including internal industry schemes. eBay therefore caution against efforts that mandate adherence by traders or consumers to a particular ADR scheme or make the use of certain ADR schemes a mandatory first step before court.