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.