The Autumn Budget

By Justine Mensa-Bonsu, Adjudicator, IDRS Ltd, part of CEDR

George Osborne used his autumn statement to give an update and response on the state of the economy. The latest economic forecasts paint a gloomy picture and there is still high risk of a “double dip” recession. Many will be hoping that the Chancellor’s newly introduced measures eases the pressure on consumers in order to increase spending and boost growth.

In the current economic climate consumers are faced with rising inflation figures in the wake of welfare cuts, lower relative incomes and high unemployment. Consumer spending is at an all time low, and it is no wonder that people are demanding value for money. According to the Office of Fair Trading, unsatisfactory goods and services cost British consumers more than £8bn per year. But consumers seeking to enforce their rights have greater protection than ever and redress is no longer limited to the court system.

Increasingly consumers are avoiding a lengthy and costly court hearing and turning to alternative forms of dispute resolution. At the forefront in this area is adjudication. The first point of contact for a consumer with a complaint will always be the product or service provider, however, once any complaints process has been completed, if the consumer remains unhappy, then adjudication can be considered as the next course of action.

Sorting out disputes of consumers (and businesses) under financial pressure.

Adjudication is a process by which a claim is considered by an independent third party. It is private, low cost, quick, and effective. The process is usually document based and there is no need to attend a hearing. The adjudicator will consider the evidence provided and make a decision in line with the relevant law and in consideration of what is fair and reasonable. The decision is only legally binding once the consumer accepts it. If the consumer is unhappy with the outcome at adjudication, they will still have the option of pursuing a claim in court.

At a time when consumers are watching the pennies, adjudication assists people in enforcing their rights while offering real value for money. When disputes occur, in the current economy, it is essential to be able to respond in an appropriate, cost-effective way.

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by CEDR

Justine Mensa-Bonsu is an Adjudicator and Independent Complaints Reviewer. She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators under the adjudication pathway. She has extensive experience in the field of adjudication, having issued well over 500 decisions on consumer law disputes to date. www.cedr.com