Independent arbitration service

The scheme offers an independent arbitration service

When a complaint cannot be resolved through RECC's dispute resolution process for whatever reason, RECC will offer the consumer the option of applying for independent arbitration. Alternatively, the consumer may request access to arbitration, if at least 56 days have passed since he or she first registered a complaint with the member company. The consumer is not required to refer the dispute to independent arbitration, and may choose to deal with the matter in other ways, including taking legal action. However, if the consumer submits an application for arbitration, the member must accede to the request.

The scheme administrator has appointed CEDR. (CEDR) to operate the arbitration service on its behalf. Once a consumer applies for arbitration in line with the rules set out here, CEDR will appoint an arbitrator from the panel it maintains for the purpose. The arbitration will be conducted under the Arbitration Act 1996. The arbitration process will work as follows:

  1. Before applying for arbitration a consumer must have attempted to resolve the complaint directly with the member in writing, and, other than in exceptional circumstances, through RECC’s dispute resolution process;
  2. if any aspect of the complaint has been referred to the relevant MCS Certification Body, the consumer may only use the arbitration service once the Certification Body’s involvement has concluded;
  3. if any aspect of the complaint is actively being investigated by another dispute resolution body such as the Financial Ombudsman, the consumer may only use the arbitration service once the role of that body has concluded;
  4. RECC will provide the relevant application form to the consumer, who must complete it and send it to CEDR with a payment of £100 + VAT (this fee may be refunded to the consumer if the independent arbitrator finds in his or her favour, or recommends it to be refunded);
  5. the member must accede to a consumer’s request for arbitration, and will also be required to make a payment of £100 + VAT to CEDR;
  6. RECC will advise the consumer of any time limits that apply for submitting an application.

An award made under the independent arbitration service will be final and binding on both the consumer and the member. It may only be challenged on certain limited grounds under the Arbitration Act 1996. If an arbitrator makes a decision in favour of a consumer, the member must comply fully with any award that may be made.