Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations 2015

15 May 2015

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can offer a simple, low cost way to resolve disputes out of court. In the telecommunications and postal sectors consumers already have access to Ofcom approved ADR schemes.

New rules will ensure that ADR, provided by a certified ADR body, is available for any dispute concerning contractual obligations between a consumer and a business.

Under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 (“the ADR Regulations”), ADR entities must meet certain requirements in order to be certified by competent authorities. From 1st October 2015, businesses will have to provide information about certified ADR providers to consumers. This requirement is in addition to those which apply already to businesses providing telecommunications and postal services.

Competent Authority

An ADR entity must apply to the relevant competent authority for certification. Ofcom is the competent authority for the UK communications and postal sectors (including electronic communications services, postal services, premium rate services, Pay TV and VOD services, and equipment supplied with communications contracts such as broadband routers and mobile phone handsets).

Where an ADR entity provides ADR in more than one trade sector it may need to submit an application to more than one competent authority.

Please note that certification will not mean that an ADR entity is providing an approved scheme for the purposes of section 52 of the Communications Act 2003 or section 52 of the Postal Services Act 2011 and of the relevant regulatory conditions that apply to businesses providing telecommunications and postal services.

ADR schemes certified by Ofcom

Your application

ADR entities seeking certification by Ofcom should provide the information in Schedule 2 to the ADR Regulations and set out how they meet the requirements in Schedule 3 to the ADR Regulations. Applications should be sent to adr.applications@ofcom.org.uk.

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has developed guidance for its own applicants, which can be obtained by emailing TSI. If you wish, you can use the TSI application form to make your application to Ofcom.

Advice for traders

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has produced detailed guidance on the options for businesses and the information requirements in the Regulations.

If you would like further information about the application process or the requirements please contact us on adr.applications@ofcom.org.uk.