From 1 May ABTA is formalising changes to its arbitration scheme which will help customers and ABTA Members resolve their differences without having to pay legal or court costs. Customers will still have access to ABTA’s independent arbitration scheme for intractable problems, but ABTA has been trialling a pre-arbitration notice which has resulted in a substantial increase in the proportion of disputes resolved without the need to go to arbitration, this will now become a key part of the dispute solving process.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said “ABTA’s arbitration scheme has provided an independent, good value and efficient dispute resolution service for 30 years and we are justly proud of it. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the scheme and arbitration should only be used after all other avenues have been exhausted. The pre-arbitration notice will ensure that many more customers achieve a happy outcome without needing to take this final step”
Customers will also have 12 months from the end of their holiday to enter into arbitration, an increase of 3 months on the current time limit allowing greater flexibility and access to the scheme.
Arbitration is offered to consumers as an alternative to the Small Claims Court with a turn around of no more than 8 weeks and often significantly lower costs than the courts. Since 2001 there has been no increase in arbitration fees. From May 1, fees both to consumers and ABTA Members will be raised to cover the costs of administering the scheme.
New Arbitration charges from 1/5/10.
Claims up to £3,000 - £90 plus VAT – Small Claims fees up to £235
Claims of £3,001- £7,500 £150 plus VAT
Claims of £7,501-£25,000 - £300 plus Vat – Small Claims fees for both categories up to £525
Full details of the arbitration scheme can be found at www.abta.com