Plum Guide Arbitration Scheme
Hunt ADR is a leading provider of arbitration and mediation services, mediation training and CPD and supplies this Scheme.
The Plum Guide Arbitration Scheme has been designed to resolve disputes between users of Plum Guide (the Host) and their customers (the Guest), arising from alleged breaches of contract and / or negligence. Prior to the use of this Scheme the parties may elect to attempt to settle their dispute through the Plum Guide Mediation Service. If mediation is attempted and the parties are unable to settle then the parties may proceed directly to arbitration by following the procedure designated in these Rules.
Awards made under the Scheme are final and binding on all parties, though any party has the right to seek leave to appeal in the courts. The Scheme cannot deal with disputes arising from assault (both physical and sexual) or where a crime has been committed.
The Scheme is supported and promoted by Plum Guide as a cost-effective and speedy alternative to the courts. The Host is obliged to use the Scheme where an application is made against it by a Guest within 1 month of completion of the Guest’s stay at the Host’s Accommodation.
Claims may be made only by or on behalf of any person named in the Booking Confirmation or other contractual documents. “Guest” includes prospective clients and includes all persons whose Bookings were made under a single Booking Confirmation. All claims made under each Booking Confirmation must be made at the same time.
Any Arbitration under this Scheme will be governed by the provisions of the Arbitration Act 1996 or any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof for the time being in force (the Act) and the Scheme Rules. All Arbitrations will be deemed to take place in London, U.K.
Claims under the Scheme cannot be made for more than a total of £25,000, limited to £5,000 per person. Where a claim for personal injury / sickness is made the limit on the amount claimed is £1,500 per person, and the personal injury / sickness element cannot be the majority of the claim.
In these Rules, reference to one gender shall include all genders.
Applying for arbitration
A Guest may only apply for Arbitration once they have reached deadlock with the Host and the Plum Guide internal complaints procedures have been exhausted in accordance with the Plum Guide’s Terms of Service.
Plum Guide will issue to the Guest Hunt ADR’s contact details in order to apply for an Arbitration Application Form (the application form). If the Guest wishes to proceed to Arbitration, the application form, along with accompanying evidence, must be returned to Hunt ADR. If the application is made on-line it must be accompanied by the documents the Guest is relying upon.
Where a claim is made against the Host it is joined in the arbitration automatically. The Host is required to pay a separate registration fee to Hunt ADR and will be invoiced at the appropriate time.
The Guest (hereinafter referred to as the “Claimant”) must send the Claim Documents and payment to Hunt ADR so as to be received by Hunt ADR within 1 month of completion of the end of the Guest’s stay at the Host’s Accommodation or within 1 month of completion of the end of mediation. The Host (hereinafter referred to as the “Respondent”) may, but cannot be compelled to, agree to the Arbitration proceeding if Hunt ADR receive the Claim Documents outside this time limit.
On receipt of the Claim Documents, Hunt ADR will contact the Respondent for their Defence to Claim and Counterclaim (if any), in line with 3.3.1.
The Arbitrator will conduct the Arbitration via Hunt ADR. Hunt ADR will copy all correspondence between any party and the Arbitrator to all other parties.
The Arbitrator shall have the widest discretion permitted by law to resolve the dispute in a final manner in accordance with natural justice. In particular, he has the power to direct the procedure of the Arbitration, including varying time limits and other procedural requirements, and to:
allow the parties to submit further evidence and / or amend the Claim Documents, the Defence Documents or any Counterclaim;
conduct enquiries and receive and consider additional evidence as he sees appropriate;
issue Directions for any procedural or evidential matters which he considers appropriate;
award interest on any sum awarded, even if not claimed; (only monetary awards can be considered under this scheme);
continue with the Arbitration if either party fails to comply with these Rules or with the Arbitrator’s Directions;
end the Arbitration if both parties confirm to Hunt ADR in writing that they have agreed to settle the dispute prior to an Award being made, any payment previously made to Hunt ADR will not be refunded;
end the Arbitration if he or she considers the case to be incapable of resolution under the Scheme. If the case is incapable of resolution (under the Scheme) then the fees will be refunded.
The Arbitrator will take into account any offers of settlement made (up until the completed Application Form and payment has been received by Hunt ADR) by either party only when considering awarding to any party reimbursement of his / its registration fee by another party under Rule 5 below.
The arbitration will proceed as follows:
Hunt ADR will send a copy of the Claim Documents to the Respondent who then has 28 days in which to submit a written Defence, which may include a Counterclaim to the claims by the Claimant in their application form, or to notify Hunt ADR in writing that the claim has been settled. If no Defence or notification of settlement has been submitted after 21 days, Hunt ADR will issue a reminder to the Respondent. On application by the Respondent stating the grounds of the Application, Hunt ADR may grant to the Respondent an extension of up to 14 days for the submission of the said documents.
Hunt ADR will send a copy of the Respondent’s Defence Documents, including any Counterclaim and supporting document, to the Claimant, who may submit a Reply to Defence and Counterclaim (if any), prepared in accordance with 4.3 below, within a further 14 days. Such Reply to Defence / Counterclaim must be restricted to points arising from the Respondent’s Defence / Counterclaim and shall not include any new claim, assertion or evidence.
Hunt ADR will send a copy of the Reply to Defence and Counterclaim (if any) to the Respondent, who may within 7 days, highlight any new content, evidence or claim contained within it. The Respondent may not introduce any new matters or new evidence or points of Defence or comment by way of Defence on the Reply to Defence.
Before an Arbitrator has been appointed, Hunt ADR may in exceptional circumstances, and at its sole discretion, grant either party an extension of time for submitting any documents required of them.
On receipt of the Respondent’s final observations, Hunt ADR will appoint an Arbitrator. The Arbitrator will consider all documentation and other evidence and may, via Hunt ADR, ask for further information from the parties.
Within 28 days of the case file being sent to the Arbitrator, or of the date on which the last of the information required by the Arbitrator is submitted to him, whichever is the later, Hunt ADR will send a copy of the Award to each party.
Unless otherwise directed by the Arbitrator, all parties shall comply with the Award within 21 days after the Award is sent to the parties.
Any party may request copies of their documents to be returned to them but must do so in writing, accompanied by the correct postage materials and funds, within 28 days of the date of the Award being sent. If no such request is made within 28 days, Hunt ADR will destroy them.
The default method of all communications shall be on-line and where possible all documents should be transmitted on-line.
What to include in the claim, defence, counterclaim (if any) and comments
When sending the claim to Hunt ADR, the Claimant must ensure that all sections of the Application Form have been fully completed and that all supporting documents relied on as evidence are included.
If the Claimant is unable to submit a copy of any original contract or Booking Confirmation, the Respondent shall submit a copy of that document or confirm in their Defence that they do not have a copy themselves.
In their Reply to the Defence and Counterclaim (if any) (Comments), the Claimant must state which matters in the Defence Documents they now accept and agree with; and the matters, which remain disputed, with reasons.
The Defence shall include what matters in the claim are accepted or agreed; what matters are disputed with reasons why; details of any outstanding amounts which remain unpaid by the Claimant, and any associated counterclaim for such amounts; and supporting documents relied on as evidence in support of the Defence / Counterclaim.
Any Counterclaim shall include the basis of such counterclaim; what is being claimed (including details on the amount claimed and upon what it is based) and any other relevant supporting documents.
If any party fails to deliver anything required by the Arbitrator, the Arbitration shall proceed, as the Arbitrator considers appropriate.
Costs incurred in the arbitration
The registration fees payable by the parties, set out on the Application Form, include Hunt ADR’s administration fee and the Arbitrator’s fee.
The Arbitrator shall award that the unsuccessful party pay the registration fee of the successful party to the successful party, limited in the Claimant’s case to the equivalent registration fee they have paid. Any Award made by the Arbitrator, which directs another sum or sums to be paid by either party, is distinct from any reimbursement of the registration fee.
Where a sum awarded to the Claimant is the same or lower than an offer previously made by the Respondent (irrespective of the amount claimed) the Claimant shall be treated as an unsuccessful party for the purpose of Rule 5.2.
Each party shall bear its own costs of preparing and submitting its case, including the costs of legal representation, if any, and no legal action may be brought to recover these costs.
Provisions within section 5 of these Rules shall not apply to any appeal to the court.
Both the Claimant and the Respondent undertake not, at any time, to disclose to any person any details of the Arbitration, unless it is to uphold the Award.
Hunt ADR and Plum Guide may analyse Arbitration Awards in order to monitor the effectiveness of the Scheme and produce and/or publish findings.
Personal information will only be published for the purpose of upholding the Award or at the direction of a Court Order or any governmental or regulatory authority.
The law of England and Wales will apply to the Arbitration and to the claim. The Arbitrator shall determine the applicable law of the contract.
Hunt ADR will appoint a new Arbitrator if the Arbitrator originally appointed is unable to deal with the dispute. Hunt ADR will inform the parties if such an appointment is made.
With the exception of amending the Award following any minor error / omission, which he has power to correct by law, neither Hunt ADR nor the Arbitrator will enter into correspondence or dialogue relating to the Award.
In the event that the Arbitrator has made a minor error / omission which he has power to correct by law, the minor error / omission will be corrected. This can be done at the Arbitrator’s own initiative, or on request of either party, providing the
request is made within 14 days of the Award being sent to the parties. The timescale of 21 days to comply with the Award at Rule 3.4 above will run from the date that the amended Award is sent to the parties.
The Arbitrator shall not be liable to any party for any act or omission in connection with any Arbitration conducted under these Rules, save for any wrongdoing on his or her own part arising from bad faith. Hunt ADR separately can only be held liable for acts of bad faith.
Please read these general notes and frequently asked questions carefully before making your application
The form and payment must be completed and forwarded (if a postal application is being made) to Hunt ADR within 1 month of completion of the end of a Guest’s stay at the Host’s Accommodation or within 1 month of completion of the end of mediation.
Make sure that all parts of the Application Form have been completed and that your address (postal and email) are easy to read.
Do not delete any section of the Application Form. If you do, it will invalidate the claim. All correspondence and case statements must quote the name of the case and the Respondent’s reference numbers.
These rules are applicable to any claim registered against Plum Guide Hosts from 1 April 2019 and do not relate to any registration made prior to that date.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
What is the purpose of the scheme?
The scheme deals with alleged breaches of contract and / or negligence between Plum Guide Hosts and their Guests and cannot deal with any criminal cases or those of assault either physical or sexual. The scheme is provided so that Guests can have disputes resolved without having to go to court and without having to go to the expense of instructing solicitors (though you may choose to use a solicitor if you like, at your own expense).
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and is a cost effective, speedier and a less formal alternative to resolving your dispute through the courts. It is conducted privately based on written documentation and evidence.
What is an Arbitrator?
An Arbitrator is a neutral person who makes a legal and binding decision (Award) after considering the evidence that both the Claimant and Respondent submit. The role of an Arbitrator is similar to that of a judge and the Award will be conducted fairly and neutrally. Arbitration is a legal process and the Arbitrator must make his decision based on the law.
The Award is the document with the decision that the Arbitrator produces once he or she has considered all the evidence. You and the Plum Guide Host are legally bound by the Arbitrator’s decision, which is enforceable in the courts, subject to any provisions in the rules. It contains legally binding orders for the parties and details of the case and the Arbitrator’s explanation as to why he or she decided the case as they did.
If you win (or partially win), the Plum Guide Host will send you the money they owe you directly. Payment is due within 21 days from the date the Award is issued. If you do not receive payment within 21 days, then you should, in the first instance, contact the Plum Guide.
If you lose or you’re awarded less than, or the same as, an amount that was previously offered to you by the Plum Guide Host, you’ll be ordered to pay a further amount to the Plum Guide Host, which will be less than or equal to the sum you paid as a registration fee – but no more than that. For example, if the Plum Guide Host offers you £700 and you decline the offer, and then the Arbitrator awards you £500, you will have to pay the equivalent of your registration fee back to the Plum Guide Host. The Arbitrator does have the power to deduct any sum from what has been awarded. You are also responsible for the cost of making your case (e.g. photocopying, postage, etc.)
The Arbitrator decides the case purely on the arguments and evidence presented by the parties. The parties must prove their case on the balance of probability to the satisfaction of the Arbitrator. The Arbitrator assesses the evidence and analyses the terms of the contract, which have been agreed to by you and the Plum Guide Host when the booking was made. The Arbitrator specifically looks for a proven breach of this contract.
The Arbitrator is restricted to consideration of the documents and evidence submitted. You must therefore make every point and submit all supporting evidence that you consider relevant. You must also retrieve and submit any documents sent previously to any other body and upon which you intend to rely.
Do I need to prove my claim or does the Plum Guide Host have to prove I am wrong? The burden of proof is on you, as it would be in court, and in order to prove your claim you should submit all the evidence that you feel supports it. Your claim should be set out in date order, listing the events which have led to the claim, and referring to each supporting document in respect of each allegation.
Do not exaggerate the claim, if you are unable to produce evidence to prove any aspect of the claim, consider whether that part should be included or what justifies it. Exaggeration may undermine the credibility of your evidence.
How long will it be before I know the outcome?
You should expect to hear the outcome within 8 - 12 weeks from the date that the application for Arbitration was received by Hunt ADR.
Can the Arbitrator or Hunt ADR advise me on my case?
No. The Arbitrator and Hunt ADR are impartial and cannot act as a consultant or adviser to either party. The Arbitrator and Hunt ADR can only advise you on procedural matters. If necessary, advice should be sought from a solicitor or Citizens Advice Bureau.
Do I need legal representation?
No, unless you chose to do so. Arbitrators do not expect claimants to have legal representation, though you may choose to have it, at your own cost. This is your right. Please remember that your legal costs cannot be reclaimed, even if you win.
If my claim is unsuccessful, what can I do next?
You can seek leave to appeal through the High Court, within 28 days of receiving the Award
This deadline is strictly enforced and if you do not apply in time, you will lose the right to seek leave to appeal. There is no other way to challenge the Award. You may not like an Award (the amount awarded) but remember that does not mean that the Award is wrong in law.
Appeals will normally require evidence of a serious error in law or misconduct on the part of the Arbitrator. In order to have an appeal considered by the High Court, you will need to instruct a solicitor.
Further FAQ’s are available online at www.huntadr.com/plumguide.