Application to join the list of qualified out-of-court resolution bodies
The dispute resolution bodies for out-of-court settlement procedures regarding consumer disputes in Luxembourg can be found on a list kept by the Minister of Consumer Protection.
Any body that would like to be added to this list must submit an application. The latter must contain all the information necessary to enable the minister to assess whether the body meets the legal requirements.
Who is concerned
Each body operating in the field of out-of-court consumer dispute resolution that wishes to be included on the list kept by the Minister of Consumer Protection.
How to proceed
Information to be provided
The information to be supplied is as follows:
- the name of the body, its contact details and website address;
- information on the body's structure and financing, on the natural persons in charge of dispute resolution, including their financing, level of remuneration and term of office as well as information about their employer;
- its rules of procedure;
- its fees, if the proceedings are not free;
- the average duration of dispute resolution procedures;
- the language(s) in which applications can be made and in which dispute resolution procedures can be conducted;
- a statement on the types of disputes handled by the body;
- the grounds on which the dispute resolution body may refuse to process a particular dispute;
- a reasoned statement indicating whether the body can claim the status of a qualified body and satisfies the legal requirements in this regard.
If there are any changes, the bodies shall inform the Minister of Consumer Protection immediately.
Conditions to be met by the body
Easy consumer access
Out-of-court resolution bodies handling consumer disputes must:
- maintain an up-to-date website that allows consumers and professionals to easily obtain information on out-of-court dispute resolution procedures and allows claimants to lodge complaints and submit the required documents online;
- provide the parties with this information on a durable medium (e.g. email), if they so request;
- allow claimants to lodge complaints offline, if necessary;
- allow information to be exchanged electronically between the parties or, if necessary, by post;
- handle disputes between consumers residing in Luxembourg and companies established in Luxembourg, and disputes between consumers residing in Luxembourg or in another EU country and companies established in Luxembourg, and in particular disputes resulting from contracts concluded online; and
- guarantee that personal data is processed in accordance with the law.
Mandatory website information
Out-of-court resolution bodies for consumer disputes must provide on their website, or, if requested by one of the parties, on a durable medium (e.g. email), and by any other means that they deem suitable, clear and easily understandable information on the following points:
- their contact details, including their postal and email addresses;
- the fact that the body concerned features on a list compiled by the Minister of Consumer Protection;
- the natural persons in charge of out-of-court dispute resolution, as well as how and for what term they have been appointed;
- whether the natural persons in charge of out-of-court dispute resolution are employees or paid exclusively by the professional; their competencies, impartiality and independence;
- (if applicable) the fact that they belong to a network of out-of-court dispute resolution bodies handling disputes between consumers residing in an EU country and professionals established in another country;
- the types of disputes for which they are qualified, and any minimum or maximum amounts that may be established;
- their rules of procedure and the grounds on which the processing of a particular dispute may be refused;
- the languages in which applications can be made and in which procedures can be conducted;
- the types of rules serving as a basis for the body to resolve disputes such as, but not limited to, legal provisions, considerations of equity or codes of conduct;
- all prerequisites that the parties may be required to fulfil before an out-of-court dispute resolution procedure may be initiated, including the claimant's obligation to try to resolve the dispute directly with the other party;
- the possibility for the parties to withdraw from the procedure;
- any fees borne by the parties, including which party must pay them;
- the average duration of out-of-court dispute resolution procedures;
- the potential legal implications of the solution resulting from out-of-court dispute settlement, including the consequences if a decision is binding on the parties and it is not observed.
Out-of-court resolution bodies for consumer disputes must display a link on their websites to the European Commission website, as well as on a durable medium located on their premises where possible, with the list of qualified bodies in EU countries compiled by the European Commission.
Out-of-court resolution bodies for consumer disputes must provide a link to the online consumer dispute resolution platform operated by the European Commission for the online resolution of conflicts resulting from contracts concluded online.
Annual activity report
Out-of-court resolution bodies for consumer disputes must provide their annual activity report on their website, or on a durable medium on request, and by any other means that they deem suitable. This report shall contain the following information related to domestic and cross-border disputes:
- the number of disputes that have been brought before them and the types of claims to which they relate;
- systematic or important issues that arise frequently and cause disputes between consumers and professionals; this information may be accompanied by recommendations for how such issues can be avoided or resolved in the future in order to improve the standards of the professionals and facilitate the exchange of information and best practice procedures;
- the proportion of disputes that the out-of-court dispute resolution body has refused to handle and the percentage share of the various types of grounds for refusal;
- the percentage of out-of-court dispute resolution procedures that have been suspended and the reasons for such suspension, if known;
- the average time required to resolve a dispute;
- if known, the rate of compliance with solutions resulting from out-of-court dispute settlement procedures;
- (if applicable) information on the cooperation of the out-of-court resolution body with out-of-court dispute resolution body networks, which facilitate the settlement of disputes between consumers residing in an EU country and a professional established in another country.
Information to be provided to the Minister of Consumer Protection every 2 years
Every 2 years, the bodies included on the list compiled by the Minister of Consumer Protection must submit information to the Minister of Consumer Protection on:
- the number of disputes that have been brought before them and the types of complaints to which they relate;
- the percentage share of out-of-court dispute resolution procedures that have been suspended before completion;
- the average time required to resolve the disputes handled;
- the rate of compliance with solutions resulting from out-of-court dispute settlement procedures, if known;
- systematic or important issues that often arise and cause disputes between consumers and professionals. These bodies can make recommendations as to how such problems can be avoided or resolved in the future;
- (if applicable) an assessment of the effectiveness of their cooperation with networks of out-of-court resolution bodies for consumer disputes, which facilitate the settlement of disputes between consumers residing in an EU country and a professional established in another country;
- any training that the natural persons in charge of out-of-court dispute resolution might undergo to gain the required knowledge and skills;
- an assessment of the effectiveness of the body's out-of-court dispute resolution procedure and the means to improve its results.
Consequences in the event of non-compliance with the law by an out-of-court resolution body
If a consumer dispute resolution body included on the list compiled by the Minister of Consumer Protection no longer meets the legal requirements, or refuses to handle a case on grounds that are not provided for by the law or does not submit the required information to the Minister of Consumer Protection every 2 years, the Minister of Consumer Protection shall contact the body concerned to notify it of the requirements it has failed to fulfil and to request that it bring itself into immediate compliance.
If, after 3 months, the dispute resolution body still fails to comply with the law, the Minister of Consumer Protection shall remove it from the list and inform the European Commission immediately.
Conditions to be fulfilled by persons working for the body
Consumers must be able to contact persons with the necessary expertise to handle their case. These persons must be independent of the consumer and the professional and must not take the side of either party.
When several persons jointly handle an amicable settlement procedure within an out-of-court dispute settlement body, the number of representatives of the consumers must be equal to the number of representatives of the professionals.
The natural persons must be competent, independent and impartial. They must possess the necessary knowledge and skills in the field of out-of-court or judicial resolution of consumer disputes and have a general understanding of the law.
They must undergo specific training on the out-of-court resolution of consumer disputes.
Providers of out-of-court consumer dispute resolution services that meet equivalent or essentially comparable requirements in another EU country are exempt from such training.
Persons with at least 2 years of professional experience in the field of out-of-court or judicial dispute resolution between consumers and professionals are also exempt from such training.
They must be appointed for a sufficient duration to ensure their independence and they must not be dismissed without just cause.
They must not receive instructions from one of the parties or representatives thereof.
Their remuneration must not be contingent on the outcome of the procedure.
They must immediately inform the out-of-court dispute resolution body of any matter that could jeopardise their independence or their impartiality, or that could result in a conflict of interest with either party to the dispute. This obligation does not exist if the out-of-court dispute resolution body only consists of one natural person.
What to do if there is a conflict of interest
If the independence or impartiality of a natural person in charge of the amicable resolution procedure is jeopardised or if there is a risk of conflict of interest with a party:
- the person must be replaced by another person who will be in charge of handling the amicable resolution procedure (unless the out-of-court resolution body only consists of one natural person); or
- if the person concerned is not replaced by another person, they must cease their handling of the amicable resolution procedure and, if possible, the out-of-court dispute resolution body shall propose that the parties lodge the dispute with another competent out-of-court dispute resolution body; or
- if the person is not replaced, and if the dispute is not submitted to another body for resolution, the person subject to the conflict of interest may continue to handle the procedure, provided the body informs the parties in advance of the conflict of interest and of their right to object to this person handling their case. This person may only handle their case if the parties have no objection.
Specific budget in certain cases
When the natural persons in charge of out-of-court dispute resolution are employed or paid exclusively by an organisation or a professional association of which the professional is a member, these persons must, in addition, have a separate and specific budget that is sufficient to complete their mission.
Having a separate and specific budget is not necessary if the natural persons in question belong to a collegial body in which the number of representatives of the professionals is equal to the number of representatives of the consumer associations.
Who to contact
Ministry of Consumer ProtectionMinistry of Consumer Protection271, route d’Arlon
Postal address :
B.P 119 L-2011 Luxembourg