13 Jul

ABTA Revamps Its Dispute Resolution Scheme for Consumers

As we enter the peak summer holiday months ABTA is revamping its arbitration scheme for consumers which gives a cost effective and convenient alternative to the small claims court. ABTA arbitration can offer savings of up to £306 and aims to obtain a decision for most cases in eight weeks from the start to finish of the process.

With effect from today the arbitration scheme will be operated for ABTA by leading dispute resolution specialist CEDR Solve – [Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution] which will enable a more streamlined and cost effective service. Arbitration is offered to consumers who have been unable to achieve agreement or compensation with an ABTA Member following an unsatisfactory holiday. The scheme has been running successfully for over 40 years and is exclusively available through ABTA Members. For customers who do not book with ABTA Members, in the vast majority of cases their only option is the small claims court.

For the first time ABTA will also be publishing details of the arbitrators who will be making decisions together with their biographies to further enhance the transparency of the scheme. In addition customers will be able to apply for arbitration up to 18 months after returning from holiday rather than the previous limit of nine months.

ABTA arbitration decisions are based on documentary evidence, avoiding the necessity of attending court. This process can be inconvenient and many customers find it intimidating without legal assistance which involves further extra costs. The level of fees for both arbitration and court are based on the amount being claimed. Apart from the lowest levels of claim, up to £500, ABTA arbitration is cheaper than the courts.

Charles Fachiri ABTA Consumer Affairs Manager said: “The vast majority of our Members’ customers have great holidays, but inevitably, a small minority of the millions who go away each year don’t have the happy experience they paid for and deserve. We expect our Members to resolve these problems in resort or agree a level of acceptable compensation on return and they do an excellent job in a very high percentage of cases.

But where this has not been possible, we aim to ensure that arbitration is the fastest, most convenient and usually cheapest way of achieving a successful and final resolution.”

Further details of the scheme are available at www.abta.com

ABTA Arbitration Fees

                                           Total Amount of Claim 
                                           £1-£2,999.99     £3,000-£7,499.99      £7,500-£25,000
Claimant Fee {all include VAT}    £108                   £180                        £264

Small Claims Court Fees [Payable as an Issue and a Hearing fee]

Claim Amount Court Fees

Up to £300                  £60
£300.01-£500              £105
£500.01-£1000            £150
£1000.01-£1,500         £190
£1,500.01-£3000         £260
£3,001-£5,000             £445
£5000.01-£15,000        £570