Advantages of ADR

Has the company not responded to your complaint? Consumers are often hesitant of going to court over the complaint, esecially if it concerns a small amount of money. Alternative dispute resolution bodies can help: their procedures are quick and often free of charge.

Update : May 2019

What is alternative dispute resolution?

In almost all European countries there are alternative dispute resolution bodies (ADR bodies). Only in Iceland they are not yet available.

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

ADR bodies help consumers and traders 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 becomes 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.

Useful information: 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 both 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.
  • Traders can avoid 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

Online form

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

  • Close the article