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A typical case of a business refusing to use alternative dispute resolution crossed my desk today. The emails went as follows (anonymised to protect the not so innocent):

“Can I just ask for you to clarify this, as I’m a little confused. Your complaints procedure (below) indicates that if all else fails (as is the case here) you will refer the matter on to an ADR.


If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint investigation and all avenues have been exhausted then we will contact you either by email or letter giving details of a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution provider and potential next steps.

However, having sent me their details and knowing that I was going to contact them, you now seem to be saying that you will not engage them. Is that correct? I struggle to understand why you bother to include that in your complaints procedure if that’s the case. You might as well have pointed me to a tree surgeon for all the good it’s done me.

Either way, I am at least confident now that I can demonstrate that I have followed and exhausted your complaints procedure.

It’s a shame that we have not been able to reach the right conclusion, but I thank you x for having been polite, helpful and attentive throughout our discussions.



From: HeadOfCustomerService Sent: 27 September 2019 11:42
To: customer
Subject: RE: You have received an eMessage from

Good morning Customer,

Thank you for your email.

We recognise Promediate as a certified alternative dispute resolution provider however we don’t utilise their services as we believe our internal complaints procedure to be both objective and fair. 

Kind Regards 

Shortsighted Business”

I’m not clear why this business thought refusing to use ADR would be a good idea, as they just look very unreasonable and the customer will now be taking them to the small claims court.