New Government guidance published on 20th July unveils that using arbitration or mediation will become mandatory in the home improvement sector. The guidance states, “For the used car and home improvement sectors, where consumers often make large, important one-off purchases, the government will make it mandatory for businesses to take part in arbitration or mediation where disputes arise over a transaction.”
Further details of the change are yet to be announced.
What does HIES think of the change?
As a CTSI approved Alternative Dispute Resolution Authority, it is of utmost importance to us to handle disputes professionally and fairly in the sector and we welcome seeing an enforced use of mediation or arbitration in the home improvement industry.
We therefore strongly agree with the change and agree that business participation in either mediation or arbitration should be mandatory in the home improvement sector.
At HIES we have seen the success of alternative dispute resolution first-hand in both the short amount of time taken to resolve disputes and the success rates of resolving disputes without the need to engage further with the Ombudsman or with legal action. In June 2021 our statistics showed a success rate of 100% of disputes resolved in that month and the average dispute resolution time was only 11 days. We have seen the success amongst both consumers and installers.
However, we must note that albeit the change is a positive one, consideration must be taken when it comes to consumer awareness of the changes to consumer law. Consumer awareness of mandatory mediation or arbitration participation and signposting must be improved across the industry. Consumers must be aware of their consumer rights to mediation or arbitration prior to taking any legal action. Traders must be responsible for publicly providing details of their alternative dispute resolution provider.
Faisal Hussain, HIES Chief Executive, comments:
“The above change to consumer law and policy is extremely positive for the home improvement industry and it’s great to see a focus on supporting consumers and traders to resolve their disputes more professionally. After seeing the success of ADR at HIES with our average days to resolve a complaint in mediation being 11 days in June 2021, we are certain this is a step in the right direction and believe it will help to improve the industry and its reputation.”
To read the official Government guidance, please click here.