FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We hope that the following information will help you better understand Online Dispute Resolution and how this online self help tool can assist you in resolving disputes with a business.
What is Online Dispute Resolution?
Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is an exciting new way for consumers to resolve disputes with businesses using the internet in a cost effective, efficient and timely manner in the privacy of their own home. As this is a pilot project, there will be no cost involved at this point.
Who can participate?
British Columbia consumers and businesses who are in a dispute can participate. Both parties must be comfortable with sharing information online, have access to a computer and an email account.
What is the ODR process?
Consumers contact Consumer Protection BC with their issue. If we determine that a complaint is a good fit for ODR, a Case Administrator from Consumer Protection BC will contact the business to see if they are willing to participate. Once the business and consumer have provided written confirmation that they are willing to participate, the online process begins.
A Case Administrator will start the case by entering in the basic information about the dispute in the ODR system. Each party will be notified by email and provided with an ODR account. At this point, each party will communicate with each other directly through the ODR platform and try to come to a resolution. Communication is now in real time, and you will be notified by email each time the other party enters information in the ODR system.
If you feel that no progress is being made, you may request a neutral third party through the ODR system to assist you in the process. This third party will have access to the details of the complaint.
What tools do I need to participate in ODR?
You will need a computer with internet access and an email account.
What information do I need before I start the ODR process?
The more information you can provide on the complaint, the better. At a minimum you will need:
For example if your complaint is about a couch being delivered in poor condition, include your sales agreement, proof of payment, photos supporting your complaint and a copy of your initial complaint letter to the business.)
Who initiates the complaint?
As this pilot project is currently in the testing phase, complaints will be initiated by the consumer.
What happens once a resolution in reached?
It is up to both parties to follow through with the agreement.
How long does the actual ODR process take?
This depends on the business and the consumer and how willing they are to resolve the issue.
Is the mutually agreed upon resolution binding?
Yes but if either party does not follow through, it is up to the party to enforce the agreement.
Who do I contact for more information?