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Complaints and disputes: procedural, information provision and reporting requirements

Guidance to licensees’ on policies, procedures and controls for handling customer complaints.

5 - ADR requirements

As explained in section 4 - Time limits and escalation of complaints, under social responsibility code provision, licence holders must ensure they have arrangements in place for customers to be able to refer any dispute to an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entity. This an ADR entity on the list of providers approved by the Commission, if not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

The customer must be given this option if their complaint remains unresolved eight weeks, taking into account any times that the ‘clock’ on the time period may have been paused, after the licence holder received it, though the option may be offered sooner if the customer and the licence holder reach a deadlock or final position in less than eight weeks.

The services of any such ADR entity must be free of charge to the customer, as required by the social responsibility code provision.

Licence holders must not subject ADR services to any terms that are intended to remove or restrict the customer’s right to bring proceedings against the licence holder in court. Licence holders may include terms that allow resolution of a dispute, if agreed by the customer, to be binding on both parties, as also required by social responsibility code provision

ADR entities may have terms that enable them to reject complaints that are frivolous or vexatious, in line with the requirements of the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 (opens in new tab), but licence holders should not refuse to refer disputes on such grounds.

Licence holders should ensure that they respond to requests for information about disputes from ADR entities in full and within ten working days. Licence holders should not unnecessarily delay providing the information that the ADR entity requires to look at the dispute.

ADR entities are able to consider disputes, that is, unresolved complaints that relate to the outcome of a customer’s gambling transaction. This can include disputes about, for example, account management or the ability to access funds. ADR providers may consider whether a resolution should include compensation for customers, either for expenses incurred in pursuing the complaint or as a good will gesture for inconvenience or difficulty incurred.

As part of their considerations, we expect ADR entities to also consider the licence holder’s terms and conditions that are relevant to the complaint, and to consider whether to apply relevant consumer protection legislation in making their decision.

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4 - Time limits and escalation of complaints
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6 - Information to customers
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