Unless the member trader is a member of a trade association with its own code of practice and alternative dispute resolution process, in which case complaints may be referred and dealt with in accordance with that code of practice and alternative dispute resolution process, the following dispute resolution procedure will apply in respect of disputes arising between the consumer and member trader.
- Initially consumers and traders should try to resolve complaints through discussion. Details of a complaint or any matter in dispute should be made in writing to the other party and where appropriate a meeting should be convened between the consumer and member trader within five working days to discuss and try to resolve the complaint or any matter in dispute.
- If the complaint or matter in dispute remains unresolved, either party may contact the Council Trading Standards with details of the matter.
- The Council will acknowledge receipt of the complaint or matter in dispute to both parties within three working days of being notified.
- The Council Trading Standards will consider the complaint and mediate between both parties to attempt to resolve any issues as quickly as practicable. Member traders must agree to communicate fully with the Council’s Trading Standards staff throughout the process of dealing with any dispute.
- If at any time, both parties agree that the consultation of an independent expert is required (for example, for inspections or testing), both parties shall be required to give written agreement to the expert’s terms of reference prior to any such expert being instructed. This shall include the parties mutually agreeing suitable arrangements for the payment of expert fees and expenses.
- Member traders must keep records of any complaint or disputes for a minimum of one calendar year.
- Where a trader member is not part of a trade association with its own alternative dispute resolution and a dispute between the trader member and a consumer cannot be resolved by the above process, the dispute can be referred to Ombudsman Services at the discretion of South Ayrshire Council. Ombudsman Services provide an independent, impartial, and cost effective means to resolve disputes out with the courts
- Disputes which are referred to Ombudsman Services will be dealt with according to their procedures.
More information can be found at www.ombudsman-services.org
- The fees for referral of any dispute to Ombudsman Services will be met by the trader member.
- This procedure shall not affect the right of either the member trader or the consumer to seek appropriate resolution by means of civil remedy.