Resolving disputes

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ABTA Limited is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulation 2015.

Its ADR service is designed to bring you and the company together. You’re in control and can decide whether to settle or withdraw your dispute at any time and comes at no cost to you. You don’t need legal representation but can be represented by a third party if you wish. You have the option to register online or via post but may find it easier and quicker to use our online process. 

Stage 1 of our ADR Service (conducted by ABTA) can take up to 50 calendar days once you have registered a dispute with us online or via the post, although this can vary depending on the documents you supply.

We must stress that ABTA doesn’t award compensation or make a decision on your case. If you are unhappy with the outcome of Stage 1, you have the option to continue to Stage 2.

What are the rules of ABTA’s ADR service and what do I need to register?

Whether you register online or via post, we will need the following documents:

  • Confirmation invoice and ATOL Certificate (if applicable).  
  • All letters/emails relating to your dispute. 
  • Evidence of phone conversations: when they took place, what was discussed.  
  • Disputes can only be registered in English.

Once we have received your documents, we will review your dispute, we can then advise you on a few areas, such as whether you have a case that you should pursue, or whether there has been a breach of the ABTA Code of Conduct or not. Once we have a complete file we may contact the company, asking them to review your case. 


Arbitration and conciliation known as Stage 2

This is processed and administered by an independent body and ABTA has no influence on the outcome. Both schemes are only available once your dispute has been registered with us and you have been through Stage 1.

If your primary dispute is regarding an accident/illness, you will need to read the information below regarding the conciliation scheme, for all other disputes please refer to the arbitration scheme. 


The scheme allows you to resolve your dispute without going to court; it's faster, less formal and costs less than instructing solicitors. It’s conducted privately upon written documentation and evidence.

What do I need to know? 

  • The arbitrator considers evidence submitted by both you and the company. 
  • After considering the evidence the arbitrator will make a legally binding award. 
  • Payment of the award is due within 21 days from the date it is issued. 
  • You can appeal the award within 14 days. 
  • A win is where you are awarded an amount higher than previously being offered. 
  • A loss is where you are awarded an amount equal or less than previously offered. 
  • If you lose, you will be directed to pay the company an amount equivalent to your registration fee. For example, if your claim is less than £7,500 and you lose, your maximum outlay will be £216. 

What is the registration fee for arbitration?

The registration fee depends on the amount you are claiming.

Claim amount Fee
£1.00 - £7,500 £108.00
£7,501 - £25,000 £135.00



Conciliation is a process through which a neutral third party seeks to help you and the company come to a satisfactory settlement by negotiation and compromise. It’s voluntary and conducted on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning that any compromises made during the process cannot be used as evidence should the process be unsuccessful and you decide to take the matter to court.

What do I need to know?

  • It’s flexible, confidential and actively facilitates negotiations between the parties.
  • The conciliation process is conducted via phone or in writing. 
  • The conciliator will advise of the parties’ role, time frame and things to consider. 
  • They may propose a solution in an attempt to close the matter. 
  • If settlement is reached it will be recorded in the outcome statement. 
  • There is a short cooling off period. 
  • It is binding once the confirmation of outcome is signed by both parties.