New EU dispute rules come into force on 9 July

Businesses should start to take steps now to make sure they are ready for new regulations on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that come into force on 9 July, says The Tile Association.

ADR offers businesses and consumers the chance to resolve a dispute out of court. It can include mediation, conciliation and arbitration and is often much cheaper — as well as less stressful and time-consuming — than court proceedings.

The UK currently has several established ADR schemes in regulated sectors such as financial services and telecommunications. In other sectors, some businesses choose to belong to voluntary ADR schemes. But access to ADR for consumers and businesses is patchy.

The new EU regulations that come into force in the UK on 9 July aim to plug these gaps and place a number of requirements on ALL businesses.

In the event of an unresolved dispute, all businesses must provide information to the consumer on appropriate certified ADR providers — and must advise if they are prepared to use ADR in the dispute
All business that sell goods or services online must provide on their website by 9 January next year a link to a new ODR (online dispute resolution) national platform. Details of this will be available later this year.

The new regulations do not make ADR mandatory, and businesses / consumers will not be forced to use it. However, it must be available if both parties agree to use it.

In order to help traders meet the statutory information requirements concerning the provision of ADR, the Government is working with the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) to produce appropriate guidance for business. It should be available at soon.