Following the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation paper on “Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy”, which closed in October 2021, it would seem likely that 2022 will see ADR become mandatory across the automotive sector.
If some in the sector already feel unloved and under the cosh now, battered by a raft of consumer orientated legislation fuelling unrealistic consumer expectations and opportunism on an industrial scale, lenders that are all too happy to throw them under the bus to placate customers unreasonable demands, and ombudsman services that often play fast and loose with the facts and relevant law, then with regret that is not likely to improve much if and when ADR is foisted on them from on high by the powers that be, as the default stance for every off beam and crackpot claim that comes their way.
Of course, for most responsible traders, legitimate complaints will be dealt with quickly and efficiently at the earliest opportunity. Indeed, there is no real benefit to be had defending the indefensible, unless you are a solicitor charging by the hour, which is precisely what our members are advised, without fear nor favour, as required.
For those consumers whom are always right, even when they are wrong, ADR is a boon. It gives them yet another and often far from last opportunity, to vent their spleen in the hope and expectation of persuading a self-entitled and quasi-judicial entity of the pre-eminence and inevitability of consumerism.
Be in no doubt, ADR may be couched as a “benefit” to all concerned but it is rather more of a benefit to consumers and is little more than a form of “access to justice”’ on the cheap and as we all know, cheap is not always good. To coin a much misquoted phrase from the classic sci-fi show Star Trek: “It’s justice Jim but not as we know it.”
In the meantime, the government has its best people on this, assuming they can tear themselves away from the wine and cheese, so what could possibly go wrong?
Watch this space.
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