CYPRUS CONSUMER CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Law on Alternative Resolution of Consumer Disputes of 2017 (85(I)/2017) obligates businesses to inform consumers regarding the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Bodies by which they are covered in the event that consumer disputes arise. If a business refuses to or omits to do so, it is subject to a fine imposed by the Consumer Potection Service.
An Alternative Dispute Resolution Body is a Body approved by the Consumer Protection Service and which has been permanently established, offering dispute resolution services by means of an ADR procedure and has been registered in the inventory kept by the Service.
The benefits of a business in being subject to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Body and the advantages of ADR are numerous, as set out below.
Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Businesses
A business that voluntarily subjects itself to an ADR Body is more competitive against other businesses, since it provides a service which may not be provided by its competitors.
The consumer automatically considers such businesses to be more serious and professional than others, knowing that in the event of a dispute, it will be resolved by an independent ADR Body.
Good Customer Service
Knowing in advance that in the event of a dispute, it will be resolved by an independent registered ADR Body, also has a positive effect on the business’s image towards the customer/consumer, as an element of good customer service.
Complaints by the consumer to the Consumer Protection Service can be avoided. According to the Law, the Consumer Protection Service ensures the proper dissemination of information on how consumers can resort to ADR procedures to resolve their disputes.
Avoiding Direct Conflict
ADR procedures are friendlier and avoid direct conflict between the parties, as opposed to Court proceedings. This is especially important where the relationship between the parties (the business and the consumer) continues even after a dispute has arisen.
Expedience and Costs
Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures are more expedient than Court proceedings with significantly lower costs. According to the Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution Bodies, ought to examine a Consumer complaint within 90 days. This increases the effectiveness of the business by avoiding time-wasting and costly legal/court procedures.
Avoiding Negative Publicity
In addition, a dispute between a business and a consumer is resolved expediently and directly, without prolonged negative publicity, that would otherwise result from ignoring the consumer’s complaint or allowing for the dispute to end up in Court.
ADR procedures are more flexible, taking place at the agreed upon time and place that is convenient for the parties and strict procedural rules need not be followed.
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