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Dispute resolution

The issues in this guidance have been the cause of disputes between consumers and licensees. If a consumer is not satisfied with your response to their complaint, they can refer it to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider. We have become aware of obstructive behaviour when providers attempt to adjudicate on disputes of this nature. Examples include claims from licensees that:

  • a recent assessment by Gambling Commission Compliance staff did not identify any concerns with licensees’ terms, and therefore we have ‘approved’ them, the licensee’s terms
  • they were not a company that agreed undertakings with the CMA, and therefore their own terms must be satisfactory
  • adjudicating disputes based on the fairness or transparency of terms is outside the remit of ADR providers.

None of these are correct.

Compliance assessments vary in scope and may focus on a specific aspect of your business where we have concerns. Commission staff do not ‘approve’ terms and conditions as part of their work.

Our letter to the sector made clear that all gambling companies need to comply with the requirements set out in the published undertakings, not just those companies that agreed to them.

When asked, we expect ADR providers to look into contractual and transactional disputes between consumers and licensees. The terms and conditions are the terms of the contract between those two parties. ADR providers take account of our guidance when deciding if they can accept the dispute. Our guidance to them is clear: they must consider consumer protection legislation when looking at disputes. This includes, for example, considering whether a contract term is fair.

You should therefore follow our guidance when interacting with ADR providers, and supply any information requested within the specified timescales

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