Signposting consumers to a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) became UK law in October 2015. QASSS (QA Scheme Support Services) who oversee ADR for the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman (DGCOS) have the fastest resolution times in the home improvement industry, says the company, ranking highest across all schemes according to online figures from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) ADR Competency Authority.
The term ‘rogue homeowner’ is becoming increasingly common in this digital age and some consumers can quickly escalate a seemingly minor issue into a big problem quite publicly with the potential consequences of reputational damage. When dealing with any complaints, if the issue can’t be resolved directly with the customer, installers are legally compelled to signpost consumers to a certified ADR provider and inform them whether or not they are prepared to use them to deal with the dispute.
Although the importance of ADR is widely recognised, many think of it as a last resort, but this is far from being the case. Using dispute resolution early on is a proactive method to prevent matters escalating too far, avoiding lengthy court cases and spiralling legal fees
Using mediation services drives better outcomes and demonstrates a clear commitment to customer service. It also helps avoid deadlocks and impact on reputation. A long, drawn out dispute can prove very costly in both these aspects, so it’s important to have access to a scheme that is fast and efficient.
Latest figures show the benefits of using ADR to reach a fair and speedy resolution. As of the end of July, QASSS (QA Scheme Support Services), which operates the DGCOS, HIES and HICS membership schemes, had an average resolution time of just 4.81 days, as compared to the UK average ADR resolution time of 80 days. Furthermore, 99.02% of complaints were resolved without referral to the Ombudsman.
“We have the ability and in-depth technical knowledge to understand situations from both sides,” says Charlotte Pilkington, QASSS Dispute Resolution Manager. “We have the knowledge and experience to be able to help consumers and installers to compromise on a fair outcome.
“We provide a reasonable and fair resolution to help resolve the dispute in full and final settlement and allows both parties to move forward.”