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As Christmas aporoaches and the height of online sales is reached, retailers and consumers are confused about ADR and the EU ODR Platform. Not many businesses know about the requirement to have a link to the EU Platform by 15 February.

Some businesses are paying lip service to the directive and are still not supplying details of an ADR entity to resolve disputes to customers. Consumers are confused by the “fudge” of implementation whereby the business can signpost to an ADR entity but then refuse to use them. Many businesses would prefer to take their chances in Court and risk being penalised for refusing to mediate. In the small claims track the reality is that there is little incentive to try to avoid Court.

With only 8 weeks until businesses have to sign up to the EU Platform, what can be done? BIS are carrying out a survey and it is hoped as many people as possible will feedback how difficult it is to get businesses to mediate.

Every day we are getting emails from consumers frustrated by the system, for example yesterday a consumer contacted us to say:

I’ve just come home to a letter from [the business] that denies the issue they have given consent to mediate the dispute with ADR.

I called on the 7th December asking for them to give me their certified ADR provider. Which the customer service agent put my call through to a manager.

The manager said they didn’t know what ADR was and therefore didn’t have one. I then asked clearly for her consent for my ADR provider to act on my behalf which she replied yes. She also advised me to show you a copy of my contract as she was confident that you would advise me to pay.

I don’t understand how they can deny this and what will this mean? As they are lying.

Surely they have a quality control system that records calls that will verify my claim that they did give consent.”

As always we are powerless to help and the purpose of the directive is undermined. The system will only work once there is an element of compulsion to take part.