As of July 2017, Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited (“CDRL”) has resigned its membership with Ombudsman Association. CDRL operates four alternative dispute resolution schemes:
- RetailADR – www.retailadr.org.uk
- AviationADR – www.aviationadr.org.uk
- UtilitiesADR – www.utilitiesadr.co.uk
- CommsADR – www.commsadr.co.uk
CDRL had aspirations to expand its ADR offering, under The Retail Ombudsman brand into sectors beyond high street and online retail. However, last year Ombudsman Association introduced a rule that it would only allow one ‘ombudsman’ scheme per sector which meant that CDRL would not be able to continue its expansion plans as an ombudsman. Naturally, CDRL had to respect this decision. At the start of 2017 CDRL started the process of launching UtilitiesADR and CommsADR as non-ombudsman schemes. CDRL’s aviation scheme, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, was then transitioned to a non-ombudsman scheme. The final step has been to transition the retail scheme, which has now been finalised and as part of this the scheme name has been changed from The Retail Ombudsman to RetailADR.
The Retail Ombudsman scheme has been a very big success and has attracted many big High Street and online brands as members. All these brands have agreed to continue to work with RetailADR, in recognition of the efficient, cost effective ADR service it provides.
The decision to transition from ombudsman to non-ombudsman has been taken entirely by CDRL and has been made to allow the continued growth of our very successful ADR model, which has benefited and will continue to benefit both consumers and traders. Government therefore did not withdraw CDRL’s right to use the ‘ombudsman’ title and the relevant competent authorities, that authorise CDRL under The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Amendment) Regulations 2015 have been supportive of the transition.