On 1 October 2015, the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 came into force. The Regulations implement an EU Directive on alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) in consumer disputes.
The intention of the Regulations is to make ADR services more widely available in consumer disputes, rather than consumers having to resort to the courts to seek redress.
As a result of the Regulations, traders are now required to provide consumers with information about their ADR options. Also, if the trader is required by a trade association of which it is a member to use ADR services, it must give details of such services to the consumer via the trader’s website and in the trader’s general sales terms.
Also noteworthy is that with effect from January 2016, traders which sell online will be obliged to notify consumers of the EU’s “Online Dispute Resolution Platform”. The purpose of this Platform is to enable consumers to submit online complaints to a certified ADR provider about unsatisfactory online sales and services contracts.