Can’t Be Bothered

December 23, 2015

I am not sure if I am lacking in the Christmas spirit this year because, having done most of the shopping for presents online, I have not had the requisite dose of Slade’s ‘Christmas classic’ pumped into my veins through my ears. But I am definitely edging towards a ‘can’t be bothered approach’. But I discover today, albeit 12 days late, that the EU Commission would endorse my attitude.

The much heralded Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform has been delayed – a neat variation on those station announcements as, for once, it is the platform that is delayed not the train. You will recall that one requirement imposed on businesses was that from 9 January 2016 any that seller goods or services online to consumers would have to carry a link to the EU Commission’s ODR Platform. But the BIS has published a statement explaining that the ‘go live’ date of the ODR platform has now been delayed to 15 February 2016. If you have a signpost to the ODR platform on your website set to go live on 9 January, it is sending consumers into the abyss.

The BIS explains that it is not their fault:
{i}’We have been informed by the European Commission that due to a number of other member states not being in a position to implement the requirements of the ODR Regulation by 9 January, the ‘go live’ date of the platform has been delayed to 15 February. 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.
‘We recognise that the decision to delay is not ideal as a number of businesses and consumer organisations have been gearing up for 9 January. However, we also acknowledge that as we have not been able to provide you with a link to the platform the six-week delay will give additional time to get ready for its introduction.
‘We can reassure you that although the date of 9 January remains in our Regulations, we fully understand that it will not be possible for businesses to meet this date as the ODR platform will not yet be launched. There will of course be no question of enforcement action before 15 February.'{/i}

I had thought that the Commission was under an obligation to have the platform ready. I also thought that Member States had quite a lot of warning about the need to be ready. You would think that somebody somewhere would be grovelling with an apology to businesses and these member states that are not ready would be subject to some sort of sanction for making everyone else’s life a bit more difficult. In fact, I thought it was {i}the law{/{i} that these things had to be done. But hey-ho, law – schmaw and, above all, whatever, said a Commission spokesperson, adding ‘it’s nearly Christmas’.

I think I’ll leave buying my wife’s Christmas present until February – I’m not really in the mood. She’s bound to be fine with it.