Alternative Dispute Resolution Myths

Busting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Myths

Despite Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) being an important consideration when undertaking a home improvement project, many people have never heard of it or misunderstand how it can help. That’s why there are plenty of myths surrounding ADR. But don’t panic, using ADR won’t break the bank nor is it just arbitration. Knowing the facts will help you feel more positive about using Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Myth #1: ADR is Arbitration

Fact: Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution. There are three common types of ADR which include mediation, conciliation, and arbitration.

So, what is Arbitration and what is ADR?

Arbitration is a process where a dispute is brought before a third party (an arbitrator) for resolution. The arbitrator hears the evidence and then makes a decision.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a procedure for settling disputes between two parties without litigation.

Myth #2: ADR is costly

Fact: ADR is a much quicker process than taking a dispute to court, instantly meaning that there are fewer costs. Consumer protection schemes such as The Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS), The Home Insulation and Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme (HIES) and Home Improvement Consumer Protection Scheme (HICS) offer ADR free of charge to customers that are using one of the schemes’ members.

For Finance Lenders, Insurers and Manufacturers, QASSS offers bespoke ADR packages depending on their needs. To enquire about our industry-leading ADR services, contact our team.

Myth #3: Fair and negotiated outcomes can be reached without a mediator

Fact: Oftentimes, those involved in a dispute fail to view the situation objectively. Mediators are trained to factually assess the dispute and resolve the dispute with an outcome that satisfies both parties. Mediators do not have full control of the outcome and therefore enable the parties to reach a mutually agreed and fair outcome together.

Myth #4: Mediation is a waste of time and delays the settlement of a case

Fact: The time taken to reach a resolution is one of the largest benefits of mediation. Each company has different average resolution times, so it’s important to inquire about this before choosing a mediator to handle your dispute/s.

For example, QASSS resolves disputes in an average of 3.59 days [1] whereas the UK average ADR resolution time is currently 80 days. (CTSI ADR Report, 2018).

For more information on ADR and the services we can help with, please contact us today: 0330 335 3354 or email us on info@qasss.co.uk

 [1] An average time from the DGCOS, HIES & HICS Schemes dated July 2019 – September 2019.

Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution

Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution

Although Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is not always compulsory when resolving a dispute in the home improvement sector, there remain some important obligations for those who do and do not, provide ADR.

Despite the current lack of legal obligation, many traders still choose to be signed up to an ADR provider due to the many benefits of using alternative dispute resolution. When an installer is using an ADR provider, such as QASSS, the ADR provider will arrange alternative dispute resolution, should the consumer choose to use ADR to resolve their complaint.

When is ADR compulsory?

  • In certain sectors such as finance and property.
  • For renewable energy installers installing under government schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive. It is an industry requirement that an installer is a member of an approved code. These codes will require their members to use ADR.
  • Certain trade bodies or members associations will require their members to take part in ADR.
  • ADR is compulsory for QASSS members (including its consumer protection schemes DGCOS, HIES and HICS).

What are the installers’ obligations around ADR?

Despite the lack of legal requirement for installers to use ADR when dealing with a consumer complaint, they are still required to provide some information to their customers regarding alternative dispute resolution. When the installer has exhausted their in-house complaint-handling procedure, they must provide their consumer with;

  • An official statement that the trader has failed to settle the customer’s complaint,
  • The name and website address of an ADR provider that could deal with the complaint, if the consumer wishes to use ADR,
  • Details of whether the installer is obliged or willing to undergo an ADR procedure operated by the ADR provider they have supplied details of.

This information must be provided by letter or email.

What should be put on the website?

Details of an ADR provider must be present on the company’s website where ADR is compulsory. The website must contain;

  • Name of the ADR provider
  • Website address of the ADR provider

The details of the ADR provider must also be included as a part of their general contract terms.

Should an installer have an ADR provider when it is not compulsory, it is still recommended that these details are present on the website so that customers know they have access to ADR, should they need it. However, this is not a legal requirement.

What does QASSS do?

QASSS is a business support service to companies and organisations within home improvement sectors (glazing, building, renewables, and general home improvement). We offer industry-leading alternative dispute resolution to these companies, bespoke to their business needs. To find out more and discuss your ADR requirements please contact us on 0330 335 3354 or at info@qasss.co.uk

QASSS Statistics

  • QASSS have a success rate of resolving 98.4% [1] of complaints within the mediation process, meaning that most cases avoid the need to go to an Ombudsman or court.
  • The average closure time for disputes is 3.59 days [1] compared to the UK average ADR resolution of 80 days (CTSI ADR Statistics, 2018).

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

 

For more information on ADR please see our ADR FAQ’s page.

 

ASHP Asset Management Affiliate Partner

ASHP Asset Management joins as an Affiliate Partner

HIES Consumer Code, a scheme operated by QASSS, have accepted ASHP Asset Management (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dynamis Associates) as their first-ever ‘Investor Affiliate Partner’.

Gaining HIES Consumer Code accreditation was the penultimate step for ASHP Asset Management in completing their application to become an Ofgem ‘Approved Investor’ under The Government’s Assignment of Rights (AoR) Scheme. As an approved investor, ASHP Asset Management will be able to fund the purchase and installation of a renewable heating system for customers and in return receive the rights to a participant’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments.

Martin Smith, CEO of Dynamis Associates, commented, “We’ve had a challenging but exciting 18 months and since working with HIES, we now feel we’re a step closer to securing Ofgem approval. It was a no brainer when it came to choosing which Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved consumer protection code to support our plans. We wanted to offer end to end complete consumer protection and it was only HIES that could help us achieve that. We knew HIES would put us to the test, we knew their accreditation process would ensure we had the right procedures in place, and we are delighted to become HIES’ first ever approved ‘Investor Affiliate Partner’.”

To help deliver a cheaper, natural source of energy for consumers, ASHP Asset Management is now seeking to grow its renewable installer network. They are looking for experienced, reputable installers who have the capacity, infrastructure and ambition to install ‘high’ volumes of air source heat pumps.

Martin Smith continued, “We genuinely believe that this is an excellent proposition for installers and customers alike. Anyone currently fitting air source heat pumps would be naive not to consider the unique business model we can offer and we’re asking installers to get in contact to register their interest.”

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director of QASSS, commented, “We are really pleased to announce ASHP Asset Management as our first sole Investor Affiliate Partner. Previously we have struggled to see where the return on investment would come from for all parties, which makes us nervous as a consumer protection organisation, as we know the customer always suffers in that situation. However, we genuinely believe that the business case that ASHP Asset Management is presenting is secure.”

Ciarán continued, “We are confident ASHP Asset Management has the infrastructure and backing to make a huge impact in the renewables market and are genuinely committed to giving consumers a better deal. It is great to work with a partner who supports our overarching vision to transform consumer protection in the home energy market”

Installers can register their interest in becoming an approved installer under the Assignment of Rights here http://tiny.cc/AoR-Interest working with ASHP Asset Management and HIES.

Notes:

What is the Assignment of Rights?

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Assignment of Rights (AoR) scheme can help homeowners overcome the barrier of the upfront cost of purchasing a renewable heating system, such as air source heat pump, by introducing the Assignment of Rights. The scheme which came into force on the 27th June 2018 allows for an ‘investor’ to help fund the initial cost of installing a renewable heating system. In return, the homeowner would subsequently assign their Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments to this ‘investor’. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, provides householders with quarterly payments if they install and use eligible renewable heating technology. The homeowner should then benefit from a reduction in heating costs and would also be the owner of the system for the lifecycle of the technology installed. An applicant to the scheme can be a householder, landlord or social landlord.

For more information on the Assignment of Rights please read our article: Assignment of Rights: What’s It All About?

Who is ASHP Asset Management/Dynamis Associates?

ASHP Asset Management (ASHPAM) Ltd is wholly owned by Dynamis Associates. Dynamis Associates is a company specialising in the installation of renewable technology in the UK. The team behind Dynamis have over 20 years of combined experience in providing cleaner, greener energy bill reducing solutions specifically for the domestic market.

ASHPAM are working towards securing Ofgem approval as an ‘Approved Investor’ to install Air Source Heat Pumps in homes across the UK free of charge. Consumers will receive benefit from free installation and a reduction in their energy bills and in return allow ASHPAM to receive their government Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments. All installations will be carried out by HIES approved installers. ASHPAM will also be offering full seven-year parts and labour warranty for every installation completed as well as an optional annual service and maintenance package for the customer to ensure complete peace of mind.

Who is HIES?

The Home Insulation and Energy Systems Contractors Scheme (HIES) is a consumer protection organisation covering the installation of renewable energy products. HIES ensures that consumers are dealt with professionally, courteously and sympathetically. Any products installed by HIES Members must be fit for purpose, installed professionally and come with comprehensive guarantees which are covered by specialist insurance providing consumers with a high level of protection. HIES is supported and endorsed by consumer champions Nick Ross and George Clarke.

HIES also believes that consumers should have free access to robust dispute resolution and therefore provides consumers with free Mediation, free independent inspections to assist with installation or product malfunctions (at HIES’ discretion) and FREE access to an independent Ombudsman to help resolve any issues that may arise.

To that end, the HIES Scheme Rules and Code of Practice is a stringent set of rules that members must always adhere to in their dealings with consumers. HIES Code is approved by The Chartered Trading Standards Institute.