Fine sparks interest in ADR schemes

Motor Codes, the government-approved consumer watchdog for the automotive industry, is warning businesses that time is running out to register with an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider. Recently implemented ADR legislation requires all UK businesses to have in place ADR mechanisms to recommend fair conclusions to ongoing disputes between businesses and dissatisfied customers. UK businesses must comply by 1 October 2015.

The warning comes after an operator in the communications industry, which has been bound by ADR regulation since 2011, was fined £1 million by Ofcom, the UK’s independent regulator and competition authority for the sector, for failing to provide the correct information and guidance to consumers.

Motor Codes was recently appointed as one of the automotive sector’s first ADR providers, and is ready to advise businesses on how to meet the challenges of the legislation. More than 99% of car manufacturers are already signed up to the Motor Codes service, which serves consumers through a network of 7,500 garages across the UK.

Existing subscribers to Motor Codes can already access ADR training, which will help make their businesses and employees compliant.

Mark Terry, Interim managing director of Motor Codes said, ‘This legislation seeks to reduce the time it takes businesses to resolve customer complaints, to ensure less time is spent in the courts resolving disputes and to improve consumers’ confidence in the companies that serve them. It’s an opportunity for businesses to enhance customer satisfaction and trust in an already highly performing industry.’

ADR has been called the ‘quiet legislation’ because, until recently, little was known of the act, which has potentially far reaching implications for the UK automotive industry. It is overseen by the newly named, government-appointed Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).

The legislation tops a busy year in consumer legislation, which has seen the UK’s Consumer Rights Bill consolidate eight existing laws, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. The law was given assent in March 2015 but will be implemented on 1 October 2015.

Mark Terry continued, ‘ADR marks a new chapter in consumer satisfaction and will ensure a more transparent marketplace, raising the benchmark in business practices and empowering the industry to generate trust so that consumers can make confident purchases.’