Response to Citizens Advice report on alternative dispute resolution in the UK

by The communications team | Apr 20, 2017
Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith comments on Citizens Advice's report on alternative dispute resolution - Confusion, gaps and overlaps

Commenting on Citizens Advice’s report on alternative dispute resolution in the UK - Confusion, gaps and overlaps - Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said:

“The lack of consistency, and subsequent confusion, highlighted by this report from Citizens Advice is present across the consumer rights landscape in the UK, and plays a significant role in deterring consumers from getting their complaints resolved. 
 
“Creation of mandatory single ombudsmen in regulated sectors would greatly help to clarify complaints processes for consumers. At the moment, the complaints process varies dramatically from sector to sector, and from business to business, and it makes perfect sense to simplify the system to make alternative dispute resolution (ADR) work better for consumers.
 
“Our Consumer Action Monitor revealed that 44% of those in the UK did not make a complaint as they perceive the process to be too much hassle, so there’s work to be done to ensure that everyone has access to free, simple and stress-free ADR, that is easy for consumers to navigate, and sets out clear guidelines on what to expect. 
 
“Aligning practices across ADR schemes, as well as ensuring that ADR itself is clearly defined, is the first step to achieving clarity for consumers. But to truly benefit consumers a wider education piece is also required to build up knowledge of consumer rights across the UK, and make sure that consumers have the confidence to make their voices heard."