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Looking to resolve your online disputes through Mediation or Arbitration?

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform was set up by the European Commission to help consumers and traders resolve their disputes about online purchases by using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies. For advice on using the platform, the national help desk can be contacted by phone on 03456 089579, or by email at odr@tsi.org.uk. Telephone lines are open from Monday to Friday 09:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed UK bank and public holidays). More information is available on its website: https://www.odrcontactpoint.uk/.

This service does not give Trading Standards related advice.

Left with no option but to take the trader to court? Considering Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

When a consumer and trader come into dispute over goods or services bought from the trader, the law now requires that the trader supply the consumer with details of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body capable of dealing with the complaint.

The trader is not required to actually use the services of the ADR body but they are required to indicate, to the consumer if they will do so or not. Although not generally required to use ADR many traders recognise the benefits in customer relations in doing so. Others are required to use ADR through the terms of their membership of a Trade Association or by operating in sector regulated by government.

Although traders are required by law to provide this information, they are not obliged to engage in the ADR process except where they operate in a sector which is mandated by statute or by membership of a trade association to do so.

The option to use ADR usually begins when the consumer has exhausted the trader's internal complaints process and they have been unable to satisfactorily resolve the dispute between themselves.. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a quicker and cheaper alternative to court, where consumers and traders can resolve their disputes. It is a voluntary process and parties can still choose to take further court action if they do not reach a mutually acceptable solution through ADR.  There are various types of ADR processes and depending on size, complexity and value of claim; parties can decide to use whichever of the available methods would most effectively resolve the dispute. 

If you would like to use an ADR body to resolve your complaint you should first ask the trader for details of an approved ADR body and whether they are willing to use them to resolve your complaint. For more advice on accessing ADR, if your complaint is with a trader in the UK contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06

If you are a consumer

If you are a UK consumer who has a dispute with a UK trader and have exhausted the complaints process of the trader then you may be able to use ADR to find a resolution.  Please call the UK ADR Helpdesk on 03454 04 05 06 for further assistance. 

If you your purchase was made online you may be able to submit your complaint through the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform.  The ODR platform was launched for the resolution of disputes arising from online transactions between consumers and traders across the EU. For further information on how to submit a complaint on the ODR platform, please visit the www.odrcontactpoint.uk.website. You can also contact the ODR contact point on 0345 608 9579 or by email odr@tsi.org.uk.

If you are a trader

Clear information on what you need to do to comply with the law on Alternative Dispute Resolution can be found on the Business Companion website or from the BEIS guidance for business

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