Resolving disputes

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Stage 1 of ABTA’s ADR service is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulation 2015. It’s conducted by ABTA and 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.

It’s 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. 

ABTA has five ADR officials, which consist of two managers and three Customer Information Advisers. All were appointed on a permanent basis after a rigorous interview to check competency and attend regular training sessions. They are employed on a full-time, permanent contract and are subject to quarterly performance reviews.

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.

Stage 2 is ABTA's Arbitration Scheme 2018 - (which is administered by an independent body). For further information please click on the Arbitration section below. 

There is no obligation on you to proceed to Stage 2 and by following Stage 1 it does not prevent you from seeking legal redress through court proceedings. However, if your dispute has previously been considered by a court then you would be unable to proceed to Stage 2.  

What are the rules of ABTA’s ADR service (Stage 1) 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 all your documents, we will review your dispute and look to see whether there has been a breach of the ABTA Code of Conduct or not and may contact the company, asking them to review your case.


Arbitration known as Stage 2

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



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 and is payable to the independent body that processes and administers ABTA’s Arbitration Scheme.  

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