From today, 1 October 2015, the EU Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) legislation requires all companies to notify their customers of an approved third party who can help resolve disputes. ABTA’s ADR scheme has been audited by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and gained approval under the legislation.
While companies are not legally required to use ADR, they are obliged to tell customers if they do not use an approved ADR provider. The legislation aims to widen the availability of low-cost ADR processes to consumers who wish to raise complaints against businesses but who do not wish to embark on perhaps expensive and lengthy court action. All ABTA Members and their customers are entitled to use ABTA’s ADR scheme.
ABTA’s ADR scheme has been operating for many years and last year managed 12,000 cases, of which 400 went through to independent arbitration. Recently, ABTA has invested in the scheme by introducing online complaints procedures and improved guidance for customers. The Chartered Institute of Trading Standard’s audit recognised the ease of use of the scheme and the clear guidance for customers.
The audit involved a comprehensive review of ABTA’s complaints procedure, interviews with ABTA staff and evaluations of case files to make sure correct procedures were being followed.
Simon Bunce, ABTA Head of Legal Services, commented: “Many customers will now be looking out for companies offering ADR schemes and travel companies will have to actively inform their customers if they do not offer access to an approved ADR scheme. ABTA’s ADR scheme offers a bespoke and specialist system for ABTA Members and their customers and it can offer a substantial marketing advantage to ABTA Members over their competitors, as well as showing an ongoing commitment to the highest standards of customer care.”