A year on from when Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) legislation came into effect (October 2015), BBC Radio 4's Money Box Live hosted a panel discussion on how it's working.
The panel considered the consumer complaints process and looked at how ADR is helping consumers a year on. The legislation now requires UK traders to inform consumers of an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body to help consumers resolve their complaints, if they've already been through their own customer service procedure. The ADR body must be relevant to the sector in question.
One of the panellists was Andy Allen, ADR project leader at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (the ADR auditing and awarding body).
He said: "It is generally accepted that consumers are more willing to use Alternative Dispute Resolution processes than to use the court process. For many people, ADR is an alternative to doing nothing. It is also accepted that these ADR processes are much better at maintaining, or recovering, a positive relationship between the consumer and trader."
ADR is a range of processes offering parties easier, quicker and most cost-effective methods to resolve complaints compared to the court process. To became an approved body to which traders can send consumers, an organisation providing ADR has to be audited and prove that it meets the regulations' standards. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) was appointed by the UK government to audit and approve bodies who meet requirements of the consumer ADR directive.