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New ADR law comes into force

Posted: 13 July, 2015. Written by Mark

Legislation implementing the European Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive came into force on 9 July 2015. Under The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 almost all UK businesses selling goods, services or digital content to consumers in the EU will need to ensure that they comply with the new requirements, which may involve reviewing websites, terms and conditions and complaints handling procedures. The information requirements for traders take effect on 1 October 2015 and relate to consumer contracts (not commercial contracts).

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) describes a range of processes that offer the parties an easier, quicker and more cost effective mechanism to resolve complaints when compared to the court process.

The new regulations will require traders, once they fail to resolve a dispute through their own customer service efforts, to advise the consumer of a certified ADR body relevant to their sector and whether or not they will escalate the complaint to the ADR body. Most traders will not be compelled to use an ADR body.

However, traders who have committed to a certified ADR Provider must advertise and use that ADR Provider where it applies. RECC is a certified ADR Provider and therefore certain information provision requirements apply to RECC Members. These are set out below.


Requirements for RECC Members from 1 October

1) Members must set out on their website RECC’s name and website address, if they have a website (the scope of RECC’s complaints service should also be made clear - disputes relating to the installation of small-scale domestic renewable systems).

2) Members must also set out RECC’s name and website address in any consumer contracts (again, the scope of RECC’s complaints service should be made clear. The installation of a conventional gas boiler, for example, would be outside of RECC’s scope. A contract for a gas boiler would have to signpost towards an alternative ADR Provider).

3) Where Members have exhausted their internal complaints handling procedure Members must inform consumers in writing (by email or letter) that they cannot settle the complaint and must set out RECC’s name and website address as an ADR entity that could handle the complaint. Members should also indicate that they will use this service if the consumer wishes to.

You can access the legislation here and further information here.