Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a service that is used to resolve disputes between consumers and tradesmen, preventing the need to go to court.

When undertaking a home improvement project, the last thing an installer and homeowner wants to think about is what to do if something goes wrong.

Here’s a typical scenario, looking at it from both sides.

First off, put yourself in an installer’s shoes;

  • You’ve scheduled in approximately 12 weeks for a conservatory job.
  • Planned in a lot of time and resources for the project.
  • Conservatory project is completed and you’re happy with the final product.
  • Within days, weeks or months, you find out that your customer is unhappy.
  • The customer wants money to rectify what they are unhappy with and compensation.
  • As an installer, your reputation both off and online, profit and potentially the company’s stability is now on the line.

Now, put yourself in a homeowner’s shoes;

  • Thought about your conservatory for months or years.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time saving up or are now paying a sizeable amount a month out in finance.
  • You’re finally ready to make the big splash to improve your home living and have given up to a 25% deposit.
  • You’ve scheduled in approximately 12 weeks to have your conservatory built, your home will be a mess, and the upheaval is usually stressful.
  • Conservatory project is complete.
  • Within days, weeks or months, you find a problem with the conservatory or it simply just isn’t what you expected.
  • You now want to seek justice as you realise how much it has cost you and you’re not happy with the result.
  • The installer disagrees and is happy with the job.

So, where do both parties go from here? Each party wants to avoid costly court proceedings and save time and resources and that’s exactly where ADR comes in.

What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a complaint handling service. The service helps the consumer and installer resolve a dispute outside of court. ADR is impartial and looks to find a fair resolution to the dispute and agrees this with both parties.

Three advantages of QASSS ADR mediation services

1. It’s Financially Advantageous

QASSS resolve 98.4% [1] of complaints within the mediation process, thus preventing the need for any court proceedings and hefty legal fees.

2. It’s Fast

Court cases are notorious for being long-winded and can often take months before a final decision is made. The ADR service provided by QASSS cuts down lengthy delays. The average closure time for disputes is only 3.59 days [1], compared to the UK average ADR resolution of 80 days (CTSI ADR Report, 2018). That’s 3.59 days from the receipt of the complaint to reaching a resolution between both parties, saving everyone a lot of time, money and stress.

3. It’s Fair

ADR is impartial and looks for a solution that satisfies both parties. Mediators are completely neutral and trained to see and hear both sides of the dispute. They look for the fairest and most reasonable outcome and propose that situation to both parties. Negotiations can take place if either party disagrees, but mediators will offer several options that are beneficial for all involved.

The risks in using an ADR mediation service

There are some risks to consider when using ADR, including:

  • There is the chance that ADR will be unsuccessful, albeit looking at QASSS’ resolution success rates, the chances are slim. However, should mediation prove unsuccessful, the complainant has the option to refer the complaint to the Ombudsman for a decision to be made.
  • A reluctant opponent. Just as you and the opposing party may fail to come to an agreement together without mediation, there is also the possibility that the opposing party is not willing to try mediation at all.

The ADR team at QASSS

Our Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs) are friendly and approachable. They have many years’ experience in successfully resolving numerous disputes. They are trained to listen and to provide a fair helping hand to both installers and consumers.

The team also works closely with companies to provide one-to-one support and industry-wide advice, helping to improve the way services are delivered and complaints are handled.
If you’d like to find more about our ADR services, call our specialist team on 0330 335 3354. They are always there to help, even if you just want a bit of advice.

[1] Based on data from July 2019 – September 2019 for the DGCOS, HIES, and HICS consumer protection schemes.