Nottingham based Creative and CRM agency, Diversity, has welcomed new EU legislation known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which has been introduced to help resolve disputes between homeowners and tradespeople, without the issue escalating to incur costly legal fees.
The Consumer Rights Expert receives over 100,000 complaints every year about cowboy builders. Additionally, a survey by TrustMark has revealed that incompetent tradesmen cost homeowners an estimated £1.9billion every year, five times more than domestic burglary.
In an unprecedented move, Diversity, who has worked within the building services industry handling dispute resolution for over twenty years and is a TrustMark scheme operator, has extended financial support to their members by footing the bill of ADR.
In an environment where ‘rogue traders’ and ‘cowboy builders’ have created a poor image for all disciplines of tradespeople, from plumbers and joiners to builders and electricians, Diversity has been a huge advocate for greater protection for both the homeowner and the tradesperson alike.
One of Diversity’s TrustMark scheme members is Hywel Davies, whose business Homeshield Coating which specialises in protective coatings and damp proofing has been trading for over fifteen years.
“We welcome any initiative that makes the relationship between customers and tradesmen more transparent and open. There is problem in the industry with rogue traders which is almost impossible to police, and it is important that consumers are able to differentiate a genuine, professional business from a company offering sub-standard workmanship.
We have been in the TrustMark scheme right from the start – as a business it gives us credibility and our customers peace of mind, they know we have been audited, vetted and have the right skills and insurance guarantees to do the job.
Consumers can help themselves and avoid disputes by doing the research first, asking for references and sourcing several quotes for work. However ADR is a safety net for us all, we are pleased that such a prescriptive process now exists to simplify matters and give customers further confidence in TrustMark.”
The Diversity team has also worked extensively with long-term clients for 10 years. During this time, Diversity has helped reduce complaint liability by 80% and last year had the lowest ever level of complaints escalating to formal proceedings.
Diversity Chairman, Alan Slaney commented:
“Sensationalised stories of rogue traders has contributed to a climate of mistrust when people come to engage a tradesperson to carry out home improvements.
Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that many homeowners have been badly let down, however by the same token, many competent and professional businesses have been tarred with the same brush as the ‘cowboy builder’ and are treated with scepticism from consumers.
The new legislation will help safeguard the interests of both parties, at Diversity we will be offering over 250 of our members a free of charge service should a dispute arise.
However, we do view this as a contingency and are confident that our members are sufficiently professional in their business approach and that with our assistance, they will make the need to have ADR very much an exception. Therefore, we have offered to pay ADR if required, we very much hope that this helps to rebuild consumer confidence.”
The first part of the ADR process is for both parties in a dispute to engage and discuss the issue. If this doesn’t produce a good outcome, the next stage is mediation, which is facilitated by Diversity.
Where no agreement can be achieved through these services, the final option available is engagement with an Ombudsman service for adjudication, which is free for the consumer and relatively low cost for the tradesperson and avoids loss of earnings and no court costs.
This new legislation means it will be easier and more cost effective for both consumers and RMI professionals to resolve complaints.