Advantages of ADR

Does the company not react to your complaint? Particularly, if small sums are involved, consumers often shy away from going to court. Alternative dispute resolution bodies can help: their procedures are quick and often free of charge.

Update : Apr 2019

What is alternative dispute resolution?

In almost all European countries there are alternative dispute resolution bodies (ADR bodies). They are not yet available only in Island.

The European Commission provides for a list with all ADR bodies in Europe.

ADR bodies help consumers and traders to solve their disputes amicably and in a cooperative way. It asks both parties opinions, assesses the legal situation and proposes a solution. If both parties accept the solution, it turns binding. Otherwise, consumers and traders still have the option to go to court.

ADR bodies must comply with quality criteria set by the European Union. Their procedures must be impartial, transparent, quick and available at low cost. National authorities control compliance with the quality criteria.

Good to know: In Germany ADR procedures are free of charge for consumers.

In addition to ADR bodies, there are many other out-of-court dispute resolution bodies in Germany and Europe.


ADR procedures have many advantages for consumers and traders:

  • Impartial, transparent, quick and low cost procedures.
  • Qualified legal assessment of the dispute.
  • Flexible procedures and solutions.
  • Suspension of the limitation period (for consumers).
  • Proposed solutions can be rejected.

In addition, ADR procedures have specific advantages for traders:

  • Participation leads to more customer trust.
  • Avoidance of negative customer ratings.
  • Business secrets remain protected.

Practical tips: Consumers can contact ADR bodies via the European online dispute resolution platform (ODR platform: It helps to overcome language barriers and much more.


The European Consumer Centre Germany supports consumers in contacting ADR bodies, if the trader and the consumer come from two different European countries; and as national contact point advices on the European online dispute resolution platform.



Tel.: +49 7851 991 48 60 (Mon - Thu: 9:00-12:00; 13:00-17:30; Fri: 9:00-12:00; 13:00-16:00)

Fax: +49 7851 991 48 11

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Practical tip: If consumers and traders come from Germany, regional consumer organisations can advise consumers on ADR.

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