12th February 2016
Consumers will find it easier to take online retailers to task over poor goods and services as new protection laws come into place.
From Monday, online retailers much signpost dissatisfied consumers to an online dispute resolution service. The move brings online retailers in line with high street retailers, which have been offering alternative dispute resolution since October.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is one of the seven government-appointed bodies that will oversee dispute resolution services and has rubber-stamped 24 individual schemes so far.
Andy Allen, CTSI lead officer for dispute resolution services, said: ‘There is no doubt that EU legislation has given stronger and stronger rights to consumers.
‘However, the majority of legislation requires the consumers to enforce it themselves through the court system. Very few consumers are prepared to do this because of the cost, time spent and perceived formality of the court process. Creating an alternative dispute resolution environment of cheaper, quicker and less formal processes, to pursue consumer rights is a logical and very helpful first step towards reducing this issue.’
He added that online resolution tools that assist consumers in accessing the process are ‘a further useful step’.
CTSI-approved alternative dispute resolution providers are available in all sectors, from property to retail and the motor sector, as well as vehicle renting and leasing.
While traders are not mandated to use the tools it is believed that consumer benefits will encourage them to do so.