The GGF is pleased to announce the launch of a dedicated website for The Glazing Arbitration Scheme (TGAS), www.tgas.org.uk. The TGAS scheme complies with the EU ADR Directive implemented 1st October 2015, and is the primary ADR Scheme for the glass and glazing industry.
Becoming a TGAS trader and being listed on the TGAS website offering ADR is free of charge for GGF Member companies as part of their membership, and is also available free of charge to FENSA registered firms who wish to “opt in” to ADR – contact email@example.com.
TGAS is operated independently by a Chartered Trading Standards Institute Certified ADR body, the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), Consumers will be signposted to TGAS by the Citizens Advice helpdesk which receives consumer enquiries regarding ADR. However, consumers will have had to go through the GGF Conciliation Scheme or FENSA complaint process for at least 56 days and still be in dispute before being able to progress to arbitration.
EASY WAY FOR COMPANIES TO COMPLY WITH THE NEW EU ADR DIRECTIVE
What is ADR, and what has been the legal obligation from 1st October 2015 for all businesses who sell to consumers? ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution, of which arbitration and ombudsman schemes are examples, and is being promoted by Government via the EU ADR Directive.
The Government believes that more and more consumers will look for a trader which offers ADR, in the event of an unresolved dispute between the consumer and the trader.
ADR is usually cheaper and quicker at resolving disputes than going to court. Whilst the Directive does not make the offering of ADR mandatory, there is the “business obligation” for all businesses who sell to consumers to comply with.
So, even if companies do not offer ADR, it is now the law that where firms reach the point where their complaint procedures have been exhausted and there are still disputes, they must legally provide the consumer with the following:-
- a statement that the company cannot settle the complaint with the consumer
- the name and website address of an ADR provider in the glazing sector that could deal with the complaint (e.g. TGAS), if the consumer wishes to use ADR
- whether the company are obliged or prepared to submit to an ADR procedure operated by that provider (in other words, the trader has to give the consumer details of an ADR provider but does not have to agree to use ADR)
Brian Smith, GGF Director of Home Improvement, commented: “After consultation and feedback from GGF Members and other companies in the industry, it was evident that an arbitration scheme was preferred to an ombudsman scheme. With an ombudsman scheme it is free and easy for a consumer to progress their complaint to an ombudsman and the decision is binding on the trader but not the consumer, so the consumer can just reject that ombudsman’s decision. However, with arbitration like TGAS the consumer has to pay £100 to progress their dispute to arbitration, and the decision is binding on both trader and consumer. TGAS will therefore weed out vexatious and frivolous claims from consumers. We have an excellent relationship with CEDR, and would emphasise that with TGAS the parties can always be certain that the dispute is being handled by a professional arbitrator who has been trained by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, which will ensure a fair and just decision in all cases”.
John Munton, Director of Dispute Resolution Services at CEDR, said: “Arbitration is the ideal dispute resolution method to provide both sides with an independent, swift and affordable answer when there is disagreement. CEDR is privileged to take on this important service ensuring, on the rare occasions that something does go wrong with a glazing service or product, that British consumers are treated fairly and that the reputation and good name of GGF Member companies and FENSA registered firms is retained”.
GGF Member companies are automatically entered into TGAS by belonging to the GGF Consumer Code of Practice. FENSA registered firms who wish to “opt in” are advised to contact FENSA direct using the email of firstname.lastname@example.org.