CCAS In this feature

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l alternative dispute resolution l British Association of Removers Now youre talking! Alternative dispute resolution is coming, thanks to changes in EU law. However, TSIs codes sponsors are already prepared, says Ivy Hughes B y July 2015, the EU Directive on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will come into effect, requiring all businesses to provide a form of ADR. While some businesses have been looking frantically for an appropriate way to accommodate these regulations, independent ADRs are old hat for Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) members, who have been required to have an independent ADR system in place since joining the scheme. Weve run an independent dispute resolution scheme for several years, said Stephen Vickers, director general of theBritish Association of Removers (BAR), which is a CCAS sponsor for the removal industry. Weve noticed that, in general, complaints against members have reduced. This is caused by a number of factors, including improved service and standards, and businesses having better processes when dealing with customers if something goes wrong. Anytime a new CCAS code is developed, the code sponsor works with TSIs codes team to develop a complaints process, which includes mediation or arbitration, plus ADR. Code sponsors, such as BAR, decide whether the initial customer contact with them falls within the scope of the ADR scheme, whether there has been an attempt by both parties to resolve the dispute, or whether the mediation process should be submitted to the independent, out-of-house team of professionals but all ADR schemes are independent. BAR does not get involved in the conciliation or adjudication. It acts as the gatekeeper to the process. Motorcodes, on the other hand, handles mediation in-house. With the BAR method, if the consumer and a BAR member cannot reach an agreement over the dispute after speaking to one another, Any time a new CCAS the complaint moves to the BAR Independent code is developed, Alternative Dispute Resolution Service, the code sponsor operated by The Property Ombudsman (TPO), works with TSIs codes team to for continued independent review. develop a complaints process Our process used to be very much an internal procedure and, if the parties couldnt reach an agreement, they didnt have the benefit of an outside independent conciliation scheme, Vickers said. This was a problem because, if the process found in favour of a member, the consumer thought: Youre a part of the scheme, of course they chose in favour of you and, if we found in favour of a consumer, the member would say: Youre apart of TSI codes, obviously youll favour the consumer. Consumer complaints against BAR members in the past six months have reduced by 40 per cent, compared to the same period last year. Vickers attributes this success to CCASs improved standards and BAR members acknowledgement of them. The pending EU legislative requirementgave BAR an opportunity to review its ADR process. As BAR and TPO are involved in similar industries, itwas anatural fit to have the ombudsman which already has a dispute scheme to manage BARs dispute resolution processes. The Property Ombudsman is also a codes member, so they can let usknow if there are any code breaches, Vickers said. Its a much stronger system. Vickers said that, in the beginning, BAR members resisted an independent ADR; some felt it encouraged complaints. However, now that members have had more experience with the process, many see the value of an independent ADR, particularly as it will soon be required by EU law. The feeling I think is that the courts tend to lean towards consumers, and may not be as objective as this type of scheme, Vickerssaid. Credits Published You might also like Ivy Hughes is a communications 28 October, 2014 Maintaining Standards October 2014 executive at TSI. Images: Pressmaster / Shutterstock To share this page, click on in the toolbar