Cases of disputes related to consumer issues should be resolved without need for recourse to the courts, through mediation, conciliation and arbitration.
In accordance with Law No. 144/2015, of 8th September, which transposes Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and Council, of 21 May 2013, the legal framework gains mechanisms for extra-judicial resolution, specifically with the creation of the Consumer Arbitration Network and the requirement for companies to inform consumers about these ADR (Alternative Consumer Dispute Resolution) bodies.
ADRs are independent bodies, which allow disputes to be resolved between providers of goods/services and consumers. The companies can accept resolution through this routes, although this method is not binding, and disputes may follow the usually legal routes and be resolved in court.
According to the General Consumer Administration, in Portugal, there are 10 Dispute Arbitration Centres in operation, seven of which have general jurisdiction and are regional in scope (Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Guimarães, Braga/Viana do Castelo, Algarve and Madeira) and one that has general jurisdiction and is national in scope (supplementary). The other two centres have specific jurisdiction – automotive and insurance.
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