If we can’t help to settle your dispute using our complaints procedure, ABTA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes may help.

Where an ABTA Member and its customer are unable to resolve their differences through the company’s complaints process, ABTA provides an opportunity for the parties to have their dispute considered and managed through its arbitration or conciliation scheme. Both schemes are administered independently and are only available if your complaint is regarding an ABTA Member.

The ABTA Arbitration Scheme
Arbitration can be used to settle alleged breaches of contract and/or negligence between consumers and ABTA Members. If your claim includes an element of minor illness or personal injury then this can also be considered by the arbitrator, but is limited to £1,500 per person.

The ABTA Conciliation Scheme
The ABTA conciliation scheme for disputes related to personal injury and sickness. It is a process through which a neutral third party, the Conciliator, seeks to help both sides to a dispute come to a mutually satisfactory settlement by negotiation and compromise, but is limited to £10,000 per booking.

For full details about each scheme, please see below.

The ABTA Arbitration Scheme

ABTA’s arbitration scheme has helped consumers for over 40 years. The scheme allows consumers to resolve disputes without going to court; it's faster, less formal and costs less than instructing solicitors. Arbitration is conducted privately based on written documentation and evidence. The main points to remember are below.

  • To use the scheme you must have registered your complaint with us first, and have reached deadlock.
  • A neutral, independent arbitrator considers evidence submitted by both the claimant and respondent (ABTA Member).
  • The arbitrator makes a decision about compensation – called an award – after considering the evidence. This decision is final and legally binding.
  • If you win (or partially win), the ABTA Member will send you the money awarded. Payment is due within 21 days from the date the award is issued.
  • Within 14 days of the award being issued, either party can appeal to the independent arbitration company.
  • If you lose or you are awarded less than previously offered to you by the ABTA Member, you will be ordered to pay an amount, which is equal to your registration fee – but no more. For example, the ABTA Member offers you £500 but you turn that down. The arbitrator goes on to award you £400; therefore you have to pay back the equivalent of your registration fee to the ABTA Member.
  • The arbitrator has the power to deduct any sum from the amount awarded.

Fees

Claim amount Fee
£1.00-£7,500 £108.00
£7,501-£25,000 £135.00

Download the ABTA Arbitration Scheme rules 

The ABTA Conciliation Scheme

ABTA's conciliation scheme is a process through which a neutral third party, the Conciliator, seeks to help both sides to a dispute come to a mutually satisfactory settlement by negotiation and compromise. It is a voluntary process conducted on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning that any compromises made during the process cannot be used as evidence should the process not be successful and the matter proceed to court. 

Conciliation is a flexible and confidential process whereby the Conciliator will actively facilitate negotiations between the parties, in an independent and impartial manner, working towards a settlement.

The Conciliator will: 

  • Treat both parties equally and fairly – The Conciliator will have no vested interest in the outcome of the dispute or any link with either of the parties. The Conciliator will be unbiased and both the parties will be provided with opportunities to ask each other questions throughout the process and to discuss their needs with the Conciliator.
  • Gain the parties’ confidence and trust – The Conciliator will only disclose information where it is expressly agreed, reminding the parties of the confidential nature of the process.  The Conciliator is trained to create a positive environment conducive to allowing both parties to think about resolving the dispute and will ask questions and relay information, encouraging the parties to consider the benefits of moving on from the dispute.

The conciliation process is conducted via telephone or in writing, which makes it flexible and efficient. During contact, the Conciliator will advise the parties of their role, the timeframes in which contact will be made and the things to consider which will assist the parties in reaching a settlement. In some cases, the Conciliator may propose a solution in an attempt to close the matter.

Where a settlement is agreed, the Conciliator will record the terms of the agreement and send it to the parties in the form of identical Confirmation of Outcome Statements for signature.  There will be a short “cooling off” period to allow the parties to seek legal advice should they require it.

The settlement will only become legally binding once the Confirmation of Outcome Statements are signed by both parties.  

Should the parties be unable to agree on a mutually acceptable outcome, the Conciliator may issue two identical Confirmation of Outcome Statements which will contain the Conciliator’s recommendation for settlement.  The parties can accept the recommendation made by the Conciliator and both must confirm this in writing by returning the signed declaration.

Fees

The fee for the conciliation will be paid by the ABTA Member.

Download the ABTA Conciliation Scheme rules

More Information

Please ensure that you submit all paperwork to us within 18 months of your return date from holiday.