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The Consumer’s Right to Settle a Dispute with a Trader Out of the Court: Easily, Quickly and Economically!

Under the Law on Alternative Dispute Resolution of Consumer Disputes of 2017 (Law 85(I)/2017) new weapons are given to Consumers against Businesses. The Law provides consumers with the right, in case a dispute arises with a Trader to easily, quickly and economically take the matter to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Entity instead of initiating proceedings before the Court.

WHO IS THE CONSUMER?

According to the Law, a Consumer is any natural person who acts for purposes that do not fall within his commercial, business, craft or professional activity. An example is a borrower who has made an agreement for a loan, someone who has bought a house, a car, furniture, electronics, or someone who has purchased services – for example from an architect, a clinic or other Trader.

WHO IS THE TRADER?

Traders include natural or legal persons, private or public, who act for purposes that fall within the scope of their commercial, business, craft or professional activity.

Examples of Traders include banks, insurance companies, contractors, construction companies, private hospitals, educational institutions, sellers of any products such as cars, electrical items, etc.

Under the Law, a Consumer who has purchased products or services from a Trader and has a complaint has two basic rights:

First, he has the right to contact the Trader and the Trader must inform the Consumer of the ADR Entity or the ADR Entities from which the Trader is covered. This means that, in case a Consumer has a complaint about a product or service provided to her/him, he can require the Trader to inform her/him regarding the ADR Entity which covers the Trader.

Many Traders want to commit to an ADR Entity because, Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures are faster than those of the courts and cost less. Also, such ADR procedures are conducted and completed in a private and confidential manner, without damaging the reputation of the Trader (for example, through negative publicity). Finally, ADR procedures are more flexible, friendly and avoid direct conflicts between the parties compared to those of the courts.

Businesses that want to maintain an advantage over their competitors in terms of dispute resolution should want become a member of an ADR Entity. The Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution is one Entity in Cyprus which covers ALL disputes (except electronic communications and postal services).

Secondly, in case a Trader uses an ADR Entity then a Consumer and the Trader can resolve their disputes within 90 days. This is because the Law obliges the ADR Entity to resolve the dispute within the above period.

Even if the Trader is not bound by a specific ADR Entity, the ADR Entity to which the Consumer files a complaint, communicates with the Trader in order to resolve the specific dispute with the Trader. In case the Trader refuses to cooperate within the framework of ADR, the Consumer reserves the right to file proceedings in the Court.

Finally, it should be noted that an ADR Entity is not obliged to consider any dispute and has the right to refuse to consider it where, for example, the dispute is insignificant or based on a malicious complaint.

The above information if given for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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