Ústredný portál verejnej správy

Who can I contact when I have a dispute with a trader?

Citizen and State

Every consumer has the right to make suggestions and complaints to the supervisory and control authorities. In the following article, you will find out which institutions the consumer can turn to if he has been deprived of his rights.
  1. Consumer associations
  2. Alternative dispute resolution bodies for consumer disputes
  3. European Consumer Centre
  4. Consumer Court of Arbitration
  5. General Court

If have a dispute with a trader, you can contact the following entities to enforce your rights:

1. Consumer associations

Consumer associations are civil associations founded or established for consumer protection that promote and protect consumer interests and help consumers exercise consumer rights free-of-charge. Consumer associations will provide you with legal advice, assistance and support primarily out of court, but in the further alternative, they could represent consumers on the basis of a power of attorney before a court or other state body. However, as a consumer, you should make sure you provide maximum cooperation to the association and truthfully present all the material facts with a view to achieving the best possible outcome.

2. Alternative dispute resolution bodies for consumer disputes

Alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes (“ADR”) is an impartial, independent, inexpensive (often free of charge) and less formal way of resolving a dispute between a consumer and a trader, seeking mutual agreement between the two parties. An agreement between the consumer and trader is a legally binding document for both parties. ADR is launched at the proposal of a consumer to open ADR, addressed to one of the ADR bodies. In the event that you, as a consumer, decide to exercise your rights this way, you need to provide the ADR body (by post, electronically or in person) with a proposal to initiate ADR, which shall include the following formalities:

  • First name and last name, postal address, email address and telephone,
  • Precise identification of the trader,
  • Complete and clear description of the material facts,
  • Indication of what the consumer is seeking,
  • Date when the consumer contacted the trader with the request for compensation including the information that an attempt to resolve the dispute directly with the trader failed,
  • Declaration that a similar proposal has not been made with another ADR body, no court including an arbitration court has decided the case, nor has there been a mediation agreement concluded or ADR completed.

Alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes is provided by entities stipulated by law, some consumer associations, as well as interest associations of legal entities. Their exhaustive list is available at the website of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic (only in Slovak) and at the Your Europe portal.

3. European Consumer Centre

You can contact the European Consumer Centre (ECC), if you, as a consumer, have a dispute with traders from other Member States of the European Union (EU), as well as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, i.e. in the event of a cross-border dispute involving these countries. ECC staff will offer you free-of-charge advice and information about your rights and how to exercise them. The ECC does not deal with national disputes or problems concerning the purchase of goods and services from non-EU Member States (e.g. the USA, China). Further information about the possibility to turn to the ECC is available at the website of the European Consumer Centre Slovakia

4. Consumer Court of Arbitration

You can turn to consumer arbitration courts, if you entered into the so-called arbitration agreement with the trader (it must be in writing and have a different separate content from the consumer contract), i.e. when there is an agreement stating that in the event of a dispute arising from the consumer contract, a permanent court of arbitration, as stipulated in the arbitration agreement, shall settle the matter. The list of arbitration courts is available at the website of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic (only in Slovak). The conclusion of an arbitration contract is without prejudice to the right to bring action to the competent court.

5. General Court

All individuals are entitled to seek the protection of their rights at the competent court. In the case of consumer disputes arising from a consumer contract, you, as a consumer, will be considered the weaker party in the proceedings, which will give you several advantages with regard to your procedural rights in the proceedings before the court and, in addition, you will be exempt from court fees. Please note, however, that in the event you lose, you will still be required to pay the costs of the proceedings, as determined by the court in its decision. The costs of the proceedings may actually be much higher than the value of the subject-matter of the dispute.

Last modified: 22. 2. 2021
Publication date: 7. 3. 2016

The responsible person:

Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic