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Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/542) have been introduced so as to improve the availability and quality of ADR services in consumer disputes, with the in-force date for the relevant
regulations being 9 July 2015.
In a two part series, we consider the Regulations and what the Regulations mean for those advising traders and those providing or acting for ADR providers. This first blog will concentrate on those acting for traders.
(eg, the Legal Ombudsman has applied to the Legal Services Board to become an approved ADR entity for complaints brought by consumers against law firms)
The Regulations are only concerned with disputes between consumers and traders which are initiated by the consumer (not those initiated by the trader). They do not cover business-to-business disputes and disputes regarding the provision of health services
and products are specifically excluded (regulation 7).
The Regulations do not make the use of ADR to resolve disputes with consumers mandatory, however, ADR must be made available where both parties agree to use it and so the Regulations include obligations as to making available information about access
to ADR for consumers, namely:
If the Legal Ombudsman succeeds in its application to become an approved ADR entity then this will entail changes to the information which solicitors are required to provide to their clients in relation to their complaints procedures.
The obligations regarding information to be provided by traders are contained in Part 4, regulation 19 of the Consumer ADR Regulations, the in-force date for which is 9 July 2015.
Given the above in force date it is imperative that you now consider with your clients the extent to which their website and sales/services contracts are compliant with the above requirements or what adjustments need to be made so as to ensure compliance
by 9 July 2015.
See part two in the series here.
LexisPSL Dispute Resolution subscribers can see ADR for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities) Regulations 2015 and Changes to client care information announced for
more information. Click here for a free trial.
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