This will allow all TrustMark Scheme Operators and registered firms to be compliant with the requirements of the forthcoming European Directive on ADR and to have the option to offer their customers a simple and low cost dispute resolution alternative to formal legal action should things go wrong.
The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) is a member of the Government-endorsed TrustMark scheme and the Arboricultural Association joined as TrustMark operator in April 2014.
TrustMark will provide its own ADR process for disputes relating to domestic repair, maintenance and improvement work carried out in and around the home. It will be available to both TrustMark-registered tradespeople and their customers for contracts to the value of £100,000 and they will be able to use the service as a ‘pay as you go’ with no annual fee or costs.
TrustMark’s ADR process will allow the consumer or tradesperson to work through three stages when they fail to resolve a dispute directly. The first option is for both parties to engage and discuss the dispute. If this doesn’t produce a good outcome, the second option is mediation, which is low cost and reduces the need for lengthy court cases or high costs.
Where no agreement can be achieved through other services, the final option available is engagement with an Ombudsman service for adjudication, which is free for the consumer but relatively low cost for the tradesperson and avoids loss of earnings and no court costs.
TrustMark chief executive Simon Ayers said: "It is great news that we have been approved by the CTSI as an ADR provider and to provide a range of processes that offer both TrustMark-registered tradespeople and their customers an easier, quicker and more cost effective mechanism to resolve complaints, when compared to the court process. It is generally accepted that consumers are more willing to use these processes than to use the court procedure and they are ultimately much better at maintaining, or recovering, a positive relationship between the consumer and tradesperson.
"The ADR Directive, which comes into force on 1 October 2015, the same day that the Consumer Rights Act is introduced, will help firms to have a clear and transparent dispute resolution process in place before they enter into a contract with a customer. By providing our own ADR process, we can help Scheme Operators and their TrustMark-registered firms to become compliant with these new ADR laws and help them to treat their customers fairly, which in turn will boost consumer confidence."