Consumer Rights Law - Guidance

Since 1 October 2015, under changes introduced by the Consumer Rights Act  2015, it has been compulsory for most businesses to offer Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to their customers if a complaint arises between them which cannot be settled by negotiation.

 ADR is a process designed to resolve complaints without the need to resort to legal proceedings. It is less formal, and normally faster and less costly, than legal proceedings.

 The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 require a business which finds itself in this situation to inform its customer by a 'durable' medium (i.e. in writing or by fax or email) that it cannot settle the complaint, and to inform the customer of the web address of a provider of ADR services competent to deal with the complaint and whether or not the business is obliged to, or will, participate in an ADR process operated by that organisation.

Some industries (e.g. air transport) impose specific requirements to protect consumer rights.For details of your rights in the event of flight delay, see the CAA website.

Financial advice complaints are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service. For information on consumer rights generally, the Government has a web resource.

From 1 April the FOS has been able to make awards of £350.000 where the claim relates to an act or omission which takes place on or after that date.

Awards for existing complaints (relating to the period up to 31 March 2019) are limited to £150,000 or £160,000 if the complaint is notified on or after 1 April 2019.  On the same date the remit of the FOS was extended to include claims made by small businesses.