What are the different types of dispute resolution?

Settlement

At any point during the customer journey, the parties may wish to attempt early settlement of a customer complaint.

This can happen at any stage in the BBRS complaints process and might occur either as a result of either party’s initiative or be prompted, indirectly, by enquiries made as part of the BBRS investigative processes, by a Customer Champion or a Case Assessor.

Informal Mediation (also known as Conciliation)

The BBRS, where appropriate, will encourage and support a customer and their bank to seek a fair and reasonable outcome without the need for BBRS investigative adjudication but by agreement instead. Agreeing to informal mediation does not affect consideration of the complaint should settlement not be achieved and the case instead continues to adjudication.

Formal Mediation

When a bank and customer agree, they have an opportunity to enter direct discussions to try and resolve the dispute. A trained neutral mediator will be appointed to assist and facilitate negotiations for the dispute to be resolved. Agreeing to formal mediation does not affect consideration of the complaint should a settlement not be achieved and the case instead continues to adjudication.

Either the bank or the customer may suggest mediation at any point in the BBRS process so the parties can explore the possibility of attempting to resolve their complaint by this method (if both are amenable).

If the case is settled this way, the BBRS’ involvement ends. If there is no or only partial settlement adjudication resumes, and no details of mediation are seen or considered by the Case Assessor.

Adjudication

Adjudication is the method used to investigate a complaint when a customer is eligible for the BBRS scheme, and a Case Assessor then makes a decision on what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances, based on the evidence presented.

A Case Assessor first makes a Provisional Determination to which both the customer and bank can respond and provide additional relevant material. The Case Assessor will take into account those comments and material before a formal Determination is made after 28 days.

Unless either party appeals against the Determination the customer can accept the Determination, in which case it will become binding on the bank as well as the customer and the dispute comes to an end. The customer can also reject the Determination (and will be assumed to have done so if it neither accepts nor appeals against the Determination within the time-limits specified) and choose to pursue the complaint elsewhere.

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