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ADR scheme in Estonia

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  1. 1. ©Tarbijakaitseamet ADR scheme in Estonia -where are the problems? Mrs. KristinaVaksmaa-Tammaru Director, ECC Estonia.
  2. 2. ©Tarbijakaitseamet ADR for consumer matters ƒThe ADR,which settles disputes between consumersand traders,is called Consumer Complaint Committee(CCC). ƒThe CCCis created in summer 2004. ƒThe legislative basis for the creation of a CCCwas established by the renewed Consumer Protection Actin 2004.
  3. 3. ©Tarbijakaitseamet The committee consists of a chairman of the committee and members in the form of representatives from business side and consumer’s side. Members ofthe committeeChairmanBusiness siderepresentatives appointed by business organisations, professional associationsConsumer’s siderepresentatives of the Consumer Protection Board or the consumer associations
  4. 4. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Competence of CCC •The committee is competent to settle disputes arising from contracts between consumers and traders if the parties have not been able to settle the disputes by agreement and if the value of the disputed goods or services is at least 300 kroons(~ 19 EUR).
  5. 5. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Competence of CCC ƒThe committee shall notsettle a dispute if the claim arises from an event of death, physical injury or damage to health. ƒThe committee shall notsettle disputes relating to the provision of health services or legal services or the transfer ofimmovablesor buildings, or disputes for which the settlement procedure is prescribed by other Acts.
  6. 6. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Submission of complaints ƒA consumer submits a written complaint to the ADR through: 1) the Consumer Protection Board (the host organisation of ECC)in case of national cases 2) the ECC in case of cross border cases. if a trader has refused to settle a complaint made by the consumer or the consumer does not consent to the solution proposed by the traderand if the so called “pre-proceeding”has not had positive result for consumer. ƒA complaint shall set out: -the name, residence and other contact details of the consumer; -the name of the trader and the address of the place of business -the content of the complaint, the clearly expressed claimof the consumer submitting the complaint, and the circumstances substantiating the claim -documentary evidence, including a copy of the document certifying the purchase
  7. 7. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Submission of complaints ƒA complaint submitted to the committee shall be heard at a committee session within one month. ƒThe hearingsare oral. ƒTo the parties involved in the dispute (consumer and trader)are sent theinvitationsto the hearing at least 15 days before the expected date of the hearing. ƒSince the failure of the parties involved to turn up at the hearing does not interfere with the procedure, the hearing is held even if the trader refuses to participateor consumer is not able to participate (in case of cross- border disputes).
  8. 8. ©Tarbijakaitseamet At the ADR hearing: ƒThe consumer shall present his or her claim and the bases. In case of cross-border dispute, when the consumer is not presented the claim will be presented by representatives of ECC or the members of ADR. ƒThe trader against whom the claim has been submitted shall either accept or contest the claim. ƒAt the session, the persons concerned shall be heard and documents and other evidence shall be examined and assessed. ƒIf necessary and if the parties to the dispute consent thereto, the committee has the right to order an expert assessment of the disputed goods or services.
  9. 9. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Decision making ƒThe committee shall make a decision within five working days as of the date of hearing a complaint. ƒDecisions shall be made by majority vote. Members of the committee do not have the right to remain undecided.
  10. 10. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Disclosure of decisions ƒA copy of a decision shall be sent to the parties (trader and consumer)within two working days ƒA decision of the committee shall be published on the website of the Consumer Protection Board within two working days after the members of the committee have signed the decision ƒA decision of the committee shall be complied within one month
  11. 11. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Compliance with decisions ƒIf a party to a dispute does not: -consent to the decision of the committee -fails to comply with the decision the parties have the right to file an action tocourt. ƒThe decisions of the committee are not binding
  12. 12. ©Tarbijakaitseamet •NB! The settlement of disputes at the Consumer Complaints Committee is free of charge for the parties involved.
  13. 13. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Compliance with decisions In 2007 from 115 decisions made for satisfaction of the consumer or for partial satisfaction, traders compiled with 103 decisions, which is 89,6%.
  14. 14. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Where are the problems ? ƒDecisions are not binding–no effect in reference with “bad” traders ƒSometimes consumer’s claim is more about moral damages or consumer does not understand that ADR is not competent to interrogate witnesses –too high expectations. ƒToo many stepsbefore ADR procedure –and still the result can not be guaranteed (not binding decisions): first complaint to the trader, second complaint to ECC or its host, third complaint to ADR…. allin the same matter…. ƒConsumers may demand the ADR hearing even if it is obvious that his/her claim is hopeless, no bases to refuse ADR-procedure(causes the waste of money, time and other recourses the ADRproceeding involves for the state). For example the defect ofshoes is obviously cased by the toointensive exploitation, but in case consumer demands, the ADR proceeding shouldbe organised.
  15. 15. ©Tarbijakaitseamet Thank you!