A European Extra-Judicial Network, which allows consumers to solve cross-border disputes with e-commerce and distance selling retailers across the European Union, is to be operational by the end of this summer.
At a conference on the initiative in Lisbon, EU consumer affairs commissioner David Byrne formally announced that the system of national clearing houses, allowing consumers to seek compensation in any EU country via local out-of-court dispute resolution systems, would be operating "by the second half of this year".
An EU paper said that a "single, one-stop national contact point" should be established in each member state. It said this would help dissatisfied consumers make a claim to the out-of-court dispute resolution system in the country where the business is located from which the products or services were acquired.
Byrne said, "The EEJ-net marks an important milestone to give consumers access to simple, low cost and effective means of resolving cross border conflicts.
"I expect the EEJ-net to be a flexible and evolving structure that will accommodate new and diverse schemes as they develop, make use of new technologies and provide the most efficient and effective access to justice for consumers."