Monthly commercial law update: Top 5 developments in December 2015

Monthly commercial law update: Top 5 developments in December 2015

December: a haze of Christmas parties, client events and panic shopping.

If you were too busy trying to perfect the one-handed canapé and drink grasp, here is a reminder of some of the key commercial developments from December 2015:

Consumer protection: launch of online dispute resolution platform postponed

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) revised the timescale for implementation of the online dispute resolution (ODR) platform.

Under Regulation (EU) 524/2013 (the Regulation) the European Commission is due to establish a European ODR platform. The ODR platform will be an interactive website, which can be accessed free of charge in all the official languages of the EU (art 5(2) of the Regulation).

It is specifically designed to help consumers who have bought goods or services online and subsequently have a problem with that online purchase. It allows consumers to submit their contractual dispute and conduct the alternative dispute resolution procedure online.

The Regulation requires traders engaged in online sales or services contracts to inform consumers about the existence of the ODR platform and the possibility of using that platform to resolve disputes. Traders must provide an electronic link to the ODR platform on their website and within an email (if the offer is made by email). The information must also be made available in the general terms and conditions applicable to online sales and services contracts (art 14).

The ODR platform was due to be operational by 9 January 2016. However, the Business Companion website states that the BIS has revised the timescale for implementation of the ODR platform and the 'go live' date of the platform has been delayed to 15 February 2016. Businesses will now not be required to carry a link to the ODR platform until it is launched on this new date of 15 February.

The website says that the BIS ‘fully understands that it will not be possible for businesses to meet [the 9 January date set out in the Regulations] as

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