Belmed is an online platform that the FPS Economy puts at the disposal of consumers and companies. Belmed can be used to settle commercial disputesout of court and on the internet with the help of an independent mediator. Belmed is thus your partner in alternative dispute resolution.
All the relevant information on out-of-court dispute resolution in Belgium is also available on Belmed and you can use its search engine to quickly find a Belmed partner to settle your dispute out of court.
Belmed is an electronic platform that is placed at the disposal of consumers and professionals, free of charge.
The use of Belmed is free, however the bodies practising out-of-court dispute resolution (mediation, arbitration, conciliation) can ask a fee for the handling of your dispute. The amount of this fee and the way it is shared among the parties depend on the mediation body concerned.
The Belmed partners’ fees are mentioned on the page "Who can help you in the sector in which you encounter a problem"
You can only make a mediation request if:
- You have first tried to solve the dispute amicably with the other party (e.g. you have sent a registered letter offering an amicable solution);
- The dispute has not yet been brought before a court of justice. If a trial is already in progress, you may ask the judge to suspend the procedure to try to settle the dispute out of court;
- You are of age. If you are still underage, you can ask an adult (e.g. a parent) to make a request on your behalf.
You can quickly and easily send a mediation request online with Belmed on the following page: hand in a mediation request.
You will have to create an account before you can use this service.
No, you can also send a mediation request directly to the mediators. However, Belmed allows you to carry out the mediation process entirely online. If you would rather communicate by regular mail, you can also contact the mediation bodies by letter. The contact details can be found with our search engine. On the basis of some criteria (sector in which you encounter a problem, region, language that you wish to use) you will receive the information and contact details of the Belmed partners able to help you.
Belmed covers all the economic sectors. You can find the affiliated partners on the page complete list of Belmed partners.
We are constantly trying to form additional partnerships in order to broaden the choice open to the user
No, Belmed is only intended for commercial disputes between a consumer and a merchant or between merchants. This means that Belmed cannot handle disputes between private individuals.
An authentication with an eID means that you confirm your identity with your electronic identity card (eID) and your PIN code.
Before you can make a mediation request, Belmed requires an authentication. It can be based on your electronic identity card, but other methods are also available.
The point is that the person using an eID automatically proves his identity (with a secret code or 'PIN code' linked to the electronic certificates present on the identity card). An authentication is of course required for both parties in the dispute.
The mediator can then communicate by e-mail, ask questions and exchange documents with confidence.
More information regarding this topic can be found on the following page.
It depends on the complexity of the problem and on the goodwill of the parties involved. That is why it is always better to send as soon as possible all the documents pertaining to the problem as well as your expectations as regards the solution. The mediator will do his best to ensure that the communication is as clear as possible between the parties so that the possible solution(s) will appear quickly.
Belmed provides the parties with an entirely confidential and secure space on which they can communicate by e-mail (with enclosures) with the mediator they have chosen. Of course, they remain free to define their communication channel (e-mail, phone, meeting, etc.) together.
An amicable dispute resolution means that parties want to try to find a satisfactory solution to avoid going to court, which would take a lot of time and a lot of money. To that aim, they can (but are not required to) call on a third party for help.
You can go to a public computer room (PCR) where someone will help you browse the Belmed website. Info: PPS Social Integration, anti-Poverty Policy, Social Economy and Federal Urban Policy : tel. : +32 2 508 85 85 or +32 2 508 85 86.
Public Digital Rooms offer free-of-charge internet access to anyone who, for whatever reason, does not have an internet connection. Users can get specific assistance or follow a basic ‘internet’ course. The Public Planning Service Social Integration supports various projects developed by the PCR in order to fight against the digital divide. For more information, please check the following website: http://www.mi-is.be/en/digital-divide/public-computer-rooms
When they comply with the relevant PCR charter (only available in French), Public Computer Rooms can be registered with the local Walloon authorities and become part of the PCR network (only available in French).
Since Belmed wants to promote out-of-court settlement, its general terms state that in order to use the platform, one cannot have brought the case to a court of law, in accordance with the dispositions imposed by most of its partners. From a purely legal point of view however, article 1730 of the Judicial Code states that each party may propose to the other parties to make an appeal to the mediation procedure before, during or after a judicial procedure, without prejudice to any other judicial or arbitral procedure.
As a consumer,
I can use Belmed in case of a dispute with my provider if :
I am living in one of the Member States of the European Union and
my provider is registered with the CBE (The Crossroad Bank for Entreprises is the database listing all companies which run their business in Belgium).
If this last condition is not met but the company is however located in the European Union, I can take contact with one of the European Consumers Centres.
As a tradesman,
registered with the CBE (the Crossroads-Bank for Enterprises is a database including all companies active in Belgium), I can use Belmed for a dispute with a customer residing in one of the EU Member States or with a tradesman who is also registered with the CBE.
Check on the bill, order form, etc. whether the tradesman mentions a VAT number in Belgium or a registration number at the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (= it corresponds to the same VAT number preceded by a nil (0)).
Search then further information in the Crossroads Bank for Entreprises database using this number. You may also try to use the tradesman’s name as a search criterion.
The Ombudsmen, conciliation commissions and dispute commissions (arbitration) have to respect specific legal conditions to be notified to the European Commission and call themselves ‘qualified entity’ (information page concerning notification procedure is avalaible in French or Dutch). The Code of Economic Law describes these qualified entities as any entity, private or created by a public authority, that practices out-of-court consumer dispute resolution and is featured on the list that the Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy draws up and sends to the European Commission.
They have to meet the legal criteria of:
freedom of the parties,
procedural fairness and
Next to these classical alternative dispute resolution bodies, there are also independent mediators. They can be registered with the FPS Justice, if they meet specific training requirements. They mediate in a dispute between the parties and help them to look for a solution by themselves.
The page (Extrajudicial) alternative settlement options gives more detailed information.
The amicable settlement reached with the help of a registered mediator can be presented to a judge who will only check whether it complies with public order. Homologation gives to the settlement the same value/force as a court judgement. It is then possible to demand its execution or, failing that, to ask a bailiff to make a seizure…
The page Guarantee disputes of our Belmed section ‘Topics in the spotlight’ gives you an overview of your rights and duties within the context of guarantee disputes as well as 14 letter templates to help you try to solve your dispute with the seller. They are sorted according to the issue concerned. Even though all guarantee disputes share similarities, they also have specific characteristics; therefore, you should adapt the templates to the content of your complaint.
A formal notice is a letter in which you ask the opposing party to fulfil their obligation(s) within a set deadline. To make sure the letter was received it is best to send it by registered delivery. The page What is a formal notice? will give you more information as well as a letter template.
- Either ask a judge to settle the dispute.
- Or ask a justice of the peace to call the adverse party (that remains free to refuse it) to attend a conciliation session (only available in French or Dutch):
- if the disputed amount does not exceed 2,5000 euro: the justice of the peace will be habilitated to run the conciliation session;
- if the disputed amount exceeds 2,500 euro and if one of the parties is a private individual: the court of first instance judge will be entitled to run the conciliation session.
A user satisfaction survey is permanently available on our website. You can fill in this survey to share our experience with us. With you help, we can further improve the Belmed platform.
Belmed deals with disputes arising either between European consumers and companies registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises or between companies. If the seller is not registered with the Belgian CBE, Belmed is unable to take action.
However, as of 15 February 2016, you can use the new ‘European ODR Platform’ to solve cross-border disputes.
ODR is the abbreviation of Online Dispute Resolution. This internet platform, which was launched on February 15 2016, was created by the European Commission for the settlement of disputes arising from e-commerce.
The whole out-of-court dispute resolution processes takes place on the internet, which means that long and expensive trials are avoided and that the European consumer’s trust in (national or cross-border) online shopping is strengthened. The following page features more information on the ODR Platform.
European online stores have to provide a link to the ODR platform on their website.
The ODR contact points shall provide support to the resolution of disputes relating to complaints submitted through the ODR platform. In Belgium, this contact point is the European Consumer Centre (ECC):
+32 2 892 37 12