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Sometimes something rare comes along that changes our perspective and outlook on life, like a red moon. Unfortunately waking up at 3am was a sacrifice I was unwilling to make to witness this event and many people will have slept through it, unawares. Others may have seen it and been underwhelmed.

There are now less than 3 days to go until the biggest shake up in complaints handling and pre-action dispute resolution. Again, many people are unaware of this change or don’t think it will impact on them. I think they are missing out on a very great sea change to the way in which complaints are handled in the UK and they may get a rude awakening after 1 October.

The implementation of these rules coincides with an increase in consumer complaints. For example, following the Volkswagen scandal consumers are likely to complain about the performance and fuel efficiency of their vehicles. There is an increasing gap between test results and the real world. Mercedes has now been mentioned and the issue appears to affect all vehicle manufacturers.

From Thursday all UK businesses (including lawyers) have to inform clients and customers about a certified alternative dispute resolution provider and whether they will use them. It makes sense to use ADR as it saves costs and is  quicker than going to Court as well as protecting a business’ reputation. This can be seen as an opportunity to look afresh at complaints handling procedures and revise them to make sure that they comply.

This is coupled with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 coming into effect.

Then from January all businesses which sell online have to link in to the EU ADR Portal to refer disputes to ADR throughout the EU which will work in different languages.

In our view, the tide is turning in favour of ADR and the new rules will revolutionise the way in which disputes are dealt with and change litigation culture in the UK as consumers get used to mediation and negotiating.

We have set up a certified online dispute resolution system, approved by Trading Standards which is already receiving good feedback from users. We are here to help.

Disclaimer: The information and any commentary on the law contained in this article is for information purposes only. No responsibility for the accuracy and correctness of the information and commentary or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. The article was written on the date shown and may not represent the law as it stands subsequently. For the avoidance of doubt, the views in this article are personal to the author and not attributable to any other individual or organisation.