Best Practices for DSA Compliance: Internal Complaint-Handling Systems



November 19, 2023

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3 mins

Regulation (EU) 2022/2065, also known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) is set to revolutionize the digital landscape in the European Union, imposing new obligations on online platforms to ensure a safer and more transparent online environment. The DSA rules will apply to all platforms from 17 February 2024. Since the end of August 2023, these rules already apply to designated platforms with more than 45 million users in the EU (10% of the EU’s population), the so-called Very large online platforms (VLOPs) or Very large online search engines (VLOSEs).

A critical aspect of the DSA is the requirement for online platforms to implement robust internal complaint-handling systems. This blog post outlines the best practices for setting up these systems to help platforms assess their readiness for DSA compliance.

Best Practices for DSA-Compliant Complaint-Handling Systems

Accessibility and User-Friendliness:

The internal complaint-handling system must be easy to access and user-friendly, facilitating the submission of sufficiently precise and adequately substantiated complaints [Regulation (EU) 2022/2065; Article 20(3)].

Timely and Fair Handling:

Complaints should be handled in a timely, non-discriminatory, diligent, and non-arbitrary manner [Regulation (EU) 2022/2065; Article 20(4)].

Reasoned Decisions:

Complainants should be informed without undue delay of the reasoned decision regarding their complaint [Regulation (EU) 2022/2065; Article 20(5)].

Decision Reversal:

If a complaint provides sufficient grounds to reconsider a decision, the service provider should reverse the decision without undue delay [Regulation (EU) 2022/2065; Article 20(4)].

Redress Mechanisms:

Inform complainants about the possibility of out-of-court dispute settlement and other available redress mechanisms [Regulation (EU) 2022/2065; Article 20(5)].

DSA Complaint-Handling Checklist

To self-assess compliance with the DSA complaint-handling requirements, companies can use the following checklist as a starting point:

Accessibility and User-Friendliness

[ ] Is the complaint-handling system easy to access for all users, including those with disabilities?
[ ] Are the procedures for submitting complaints clearly outlined and user-friendly?

Language and Communication

[ ] Is the system available in the languages of the users served by the platform?
[ ] Are users provided with prompt acknowledgment of their complaints?

Timeliness and Fairness

[ ] Are complaints handled in a timely manner, with estimated timelines communicated to users?
[ ] Is the decision-making process non-discriminatory, diligent, and non-arbitrary?

Transparency and Human Review

[ ] Are the reasons behind decisions made in response to complaints clearly communicated to users?
[ ] Is there transparency regarding the status and outcome of the complaint process?
[ ] Are decisions that were initially made by automated means subject to human review upon request?

Data Protection and Confidentiality

[ ] Are the confidentiality of the complainant and the protection of personal data ensured throughout the process?

Training and Staff Competency

[ ] Is there regular training for staff handling complaints to ensure competence and empathy?


[ ] Are comprehensive records of all complaints, actions taken, and outcomes maintained?

Continuous Improvement
[ ] Is there a mechanism for regular review and improvement of the complaint-handling process based on user feedback and outcomes?
[ ] Is there a system in place for monitoring and analyzing complaint data to identify trends and areas for improvement?
[ ] Is user feedback on the complaint-handling process solicited and used for making improvements?

Escalation and Independent Review

[ ] Are there clear escalation pathways for unresolved complaints?
[ ] Is there an option for an independent review of the complaint if the user is dissatisfied with the internal process?

Communication and Outreach

[ ] Is information about the complaint-handling system actively communicated to users?

This blog post was written with the help of CuratedAI - The AI Assistant For European Lawyers. Start generating your own compliance checklists in seconds now!.