The Retail Ombudsman Scheme (ROS) has been in place since January 2015 having been launched in anticipation of the European Directive on alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Given that the aim of the scheme is to try to resolve disputes cheaply, efficiently and effectively, without the input of the courts, one might think that it is counter-productive for us to market its services but we are firm supporters of ADR and welcome this new initiative because we believe it will help our clients.

The ROS is impartial and independent and is there to assist both retailers and consumers.

It can deal with complaints about goods and services whether bought in store or online from retail businesses including high-street stores, garden centres, online shops, catalogues and even petrol station forecourts.

It can handle disputes about just about anything service or product related such as returning goods for some reason, faulty goods, issues over missing parts or delivery, customer service, pricing, misrepresentation and product description.

Access is simple if you have access to the Internet and unlike many ombudsman services the ROS can be a port of first resort. There is no need to complain to the supplier’s first.

For retailers, there is a modest annual membership fee but the scheme is free to consumers. There is a charge to the retailer of £45 if the complaint is upheld.

Why, you ask, would retailers want to be signed up to this? The answer lies in customer service. The ROS acts as an intermediary making it so much easier for disputes to be resolved, saving the retailer time and effort too whilst probably restoring its reputation too.

If you would like further information please contact Mark Pittaway on 0121 227 3850.

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