After you apply

  • After we receive contact from you we will send out an ADR pack which includes a full application form. This will be sent by post or email depending on your preferred method of communication.
  • A copy of your application and evidence will be sent to the business.
  • The business will have 7 days from when they receive your application to submit their evidence. Paper applications may take longer to process than online applications.
  • You and the business will be made aware of any evidence supplied by each other and will be given the opportunity to comment on it and provide further evidence in relation to it.
  • We will notify you and the business when all the evidence has been received. Both parties will be contacted by the Case Officer who is mediating.
  • Once we have all relevant information and supporting documentation from yourself and the retailer/trader, your case officer will initially make a recommendation to resolve the dispute informally. If this proves unsuccessful, you can move to adjudication (the trader will need to agree and pay for this) where we will issue a final decision. If you are not happy with the final decision you will be free to take your complaint to court. However, be aware that the court may take into account our findings in reaching their conclusions.
  • We aim to finalise any mediation within 28 days from the date we deem there is a complete complaint file (i.e. when we have all necessary information and evidence) and adjudication within 28 days of the case being referred to adjudication.  Sometimes it is necessary to extend this if there are unusual circumstances or an expert opinion is required.

In some instances this time period may be longer and beyond our control due to the following factors:

  • Delays in correspondence by either the consumer or the retailer/trader
  • If a recommendation by a case officer is not accepted by the consumer or the retailer/trader and the complaint goes to a decision by the Adjudicator.

The result of both Mediation and Adjudication will be sent to both parties in writing.

We will consider all of the evidence and reach a conclusion based on the principles of fairness, equity, relevant law and trade standards. Our decision will be based on the written evidence alone. We won't ask you or the trader to give spoken evidence and we won't follow up with witnesses. We will make an adjudication solely on the evidence and award financial recompense if appropriate.

The onus is on you and the business to be clear, transparent and honest. Where there is evidence of dishonesty by either the business or by you then this may be taken into account by the adjudicator.

We will produce a written report and conclusion. If you applied online we will send your report by email. If you applied by post we will send it by post.

If we find in your favour we may include costs you have incurred in securing evidence in your award. It is important that you set out these costs when you apply.

The outcome is not binding on you as a consumer. The outcome is binding on the business only if there is a legal requirement for them to be bound or if it is a condition of their membership of a trade association or similar body that they agree to be bound.

You and the business may withdraw from the process at any time. Only businesses that have a legal duty to participate as a condition of their membership of a trade association or similar body cannot withdraw.

 

Personal information

 

For the purposes of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Scheme you will need to give us your name, address, phone number and email address on the application form.

We will keep your personal details on our secure database and at this stage we will only share them with the business you are in dispute with.

We will share your application with the mediator and if necessary an adjudicator to make a decision. Outside of the ADR scheme we will only show your application to bodies responsible for auditing the scheme for the purposes of the accreditation. Your application, including the adjudicator’s decision, will be kept on our secure database in line with the Authority’s Data Retention Policy.