Alternative Dispute Resolution

The UK government are implementing a European Directive for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This covers a range of ways for settling a dispute between a consumer and a trader without taking legal action. ADR options (such as arbitration or mediation) can often be faster and better than going to court.

Most UK businesses which sell products or services to domestic customers will need to comply. The law does not require that a business always agrees to complete the ADR process. However you may be required to give your customers details of a possible ADR provider. You may need to update your website, contract documentation and complaint processes  before 1st October. A good source of information is the Business Companion website provided by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute:

If you are registered as an MCS Approved Installer, you may already have details from the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) of how to access arbitration/mediation services. RECC requires all members to be willing to participate in their binding arbitration, if the consumer has already tried other channels. If you are a CPS installer, HETAS is reviewing requirements for our sector. HETAS doesn’t intend to apply for approval to provide ADR in house. We don’t claim to be experts in contract rights and financial claims. However HETAS do expect to be in a position to inform installers about optional sources  of arbitration/mediation services, if an installer wishes to try another route to help settle a dispute with one of their customers.

At the moment there is a special offer for HETAS Registered Installers to join the Which? Trusted Traders. Their assessment process includes a visit from a Which? Trusted Traders assessor, looking into various aspects of the business such as business processes, documentation, staff and complaints procedures. One benefit of being a Which? Trusted trader is access to Ombudsman Services, an ADR body. This means you’re already ahead of the curve and shows your customers that you are serious about ensuring there is backup if something does go wrong.

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