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ADR Legislation and the Ombudsman

ADR Legislation and the Ombudsman

Does the EU ADR legislation intend to replace the role of the ombudsman service?

 

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Well, in terms of the U.K., I think, also, in terms of the European level, the main objective is not really to provide newer schemes, although in some sectors, there will be a need for that. It’s also to create pathways to harness the system mechanisms and to facilitate access to these mechanisms.

 

What Europe wants to do through the regulation, is to set up an online dispute resolution platform, so basically a European website. When we have a problem with a trader in another country… you were telling me earlier you went to Spain. So many people from the U.K. go to Spain and rent a car. Sometimes people have bad experiences, or they can have an unfortunate event. These sort of complaints or disputes unfortunately arise quite often.

 

It’s not easy to find the right place to go in another country, which is, incidentally difficult enough in the U.K. because there are so many. In the U.K., the government estimated there are around 38 different ADR schemes for consumer disputes. There are so many, which is very difficult to identify sometimes which is the right one.

 

So what European Union wants to do is through this online dispute resolution platform, is to allow consumers to submit a complaint and to identify the relevant ADR scheme operating in the country where the trader is based.

 

At the national level, the government is thinking to . . . It is evaluating and studying how to create what they call a “help desk”. That, again, will be a website with also telephone support that will help a consumer identify the relevant ADR scheme when they have a complaint against a trader. Also, they will inform traders who are interested to . . . or who have complaints with consumers, which are those schemes they could join in to get these disputes settled. Because this obviously costs money to traders to have these disputes.

 

Having negative feedback on TripAdvisor, you have a bad experience in Spain with a hotel or with a car rental company, it could be also very damaging. So it’s in the interest of traders also to resolve these disputes.

About the mediator

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Pablo is a Senior Lecturer and a non-practising Spanish attorney. He conducts research in the field of dispute resolution, civil procedure and consumer law. He was invited to be a keynote speaker in two international conferences, and he has been invited as a speaker at many other conferences in 15 different countries. He was invited to participate in expert meetings by various organisations, including the UN Commission for International Trade Law... View Mediator