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Learn more about Belmed
Belmed is the contraction of “Bel” for “Belgian” and “Med” for “Mediation”.
What is Belmed?
The online platform Belmed makes it possible to settle disputes between traders and consumers and traders on the internet and out of court with the help of an independent mediator.
On the “Hand in a mediation request” page, you can create an account for free in order to make a mediation request. The possible costs of a mediation procedure with Belmed depend on the mediation body concerned. However, even when it must be paid for, a mediation process remains cheaper than a lawsuit.
Types of disputes Belmed CAN be used for:
- Sales of consumption goods (furniture, household appliances, new technologies, second-hand vehicles, …);
- Consumer services (insurances, bank, construction, energy, travel, …);
- Cross-border disputes between a consumer residing in the European Union and a company registered with the Crossroads-Bank for Enterprises;
- Trade disputes between companies.
Types of disputes Belmed CAN NOT be used for:
- Non-business disputes (such as disputes with the Tax Administration, disputes concerning social taxes,…);
- Disputes between private individuals.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- Before you make a request, you must have contacted the other party to try to solve the dispute.
- If possible, the dispute is not already pending in court. Should this be the case, it is always possible to ask the judge to suspend the court action in order to try an amicable settlement procedure.
- You have to be directly involved in the case or represent someone who is directly involved.
- You have to act in good faith and effectively look for an amicable solution.
B2C (business to consumer)
- My electricity supplier sends me a formal notice to pay even though I have provided proof of payment.
- I live in Paris and despite many reminders, I still have not received the books I ordered from a publishing house in Liège.
- I have bought a second-hand car from a professional merchant who refuses to give me any sort of guarantee.
B2B (business to business)
- As a construction contractor, I have ordered building material for a house. I still haven’t received anything even though I have paid a deposit.
- As a clothes retailer, I have a problem with one of my suppliers. I still have not received the spring collection even though the season has already started.
- I have recently taken over a company and I must now face unfair competition from the former owner, who has just started a new company.
What are the advantages of an amicable settlement?
The European Commission financed a statistical study of various legal experts in 26 Member States. This study showed that mediation significantly reduces the duration and costs of litigation. The higher the mediation success rate, the lower the time and cost of resolving the dispute.
Saving time and money
According to the study, a mediation in Belgium with a 75% success rate can save approximately 330 days and 5,000 euros per dispute. Even with a 19% success rate, mediation can speed up the resolution of a problem and limit costs.
The study also found that the average cost of litigation in the European Union was 10,449 euros, while the average cost of mediation was 2,497 euros. As a result, European citizenscan save more than 7,500 euros per conflict when mediation is successful.
An underused option
The use of amicable settlements is still far too limited. Although the mediation rate increased by 17% between 2013 and 2015, mediation is still too often limited to family matters. There is room for improvement, as 86% of commercial disputes require less than 20 hours of mediation. This is significantly shorter than the duration of a court case.
According to the Mediation Barometer, established in 2018 by the Federal Mediation Commission in collaboration with b-Mediation and Ghent University, civil and commercial mediation last an average of 45 days and have a success rate of between 60 and 75%, with an average total cost of 3,000 euros. A 200,000 euro lawsuit can last up to 525 days and cost up to 16,000 euros.
If you have already initiated legal action, you should be aware that you can always ask the judge to suspend the action so that you can attempt to find an amicable solution.