Q: How much does the service cost?
IBAS offers adjudication free of charge to consumers. This has always been our policy and – since 2015 – has also been a requirement of the law governing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services.
Q: How long will it take to reach a verdict?
That depends on a wide range of circumstances, including:
- How complicated your dispute is
- Whether the gambling business decides to concede the case during the process
- The length of time it takes your gambling business to reply to our questions
- The length of time it takes you to reply to our questions
Typically you would expect that a case would take between 8 and 12 weeks from the time you submit it to the time it is completed. Some are resolved much faster, some legally complex cases take much longer. You are welcome to contact us and ask for a progress update, but please don’t contact us too frequently. The number of times that you do won’t have any effect on how quickly the case is completed and spending too much time on the telephone or answering e-mails will only slow down the handling of your case and others.
Q: Is the decision of IBAS binding on me and the gambling BUSINESS?
The Gambling Commission, which acts as IBAS’s ‘Competent Authority’ (the body that approves our status to issue adjudications on disputes) requires that our rulings are not legally binding on customers, so if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of our process you are still free to pursue the issue through the court system.
The Gambling Commission says that IBAS rulings must be binding on gambling businesses up to the value of £10,000. If the value of the dispute exceeds this level, then the business is free to assert that the case should be heard by a court. In practice, we have found that there are very few occasions where a business has refused to adhere to an IBAS ruling, whatever its financial value.
If you receive an adjudication in your favour but the business does not act upon it, please let us know so we can investigate further and enforce our decision.
Q: DOES COLLECTING A SUM LESS THAN WHAT I EXPECTED TO BE PAID STOP ME FROM USING THE SERVICE? WILL DOING THIS WEAKEN MY CASE?
This depends on how any sum that you have been offered is described.If a gambling business makes you an offer to resolve a dispute or complaint as a "full and final settlement" (or something similarly described) you are unlikely to be able to make a reasonable claim at a later date for any further payment.
However, if for example a gambling business is willing to pay you, say, £50 but you believe that you should be entitled to a total of £100, you are fully entitled to collect the £50 (which we describe as the undisputed part of the settlement) and continue to contest that you are owed the remaining £50.
Collecting the undisputed part of a payment does not weaken your case at all. If you do collect an undisputed part of a payment, it is important to explain to the company that you are collecting only the undisputed part of the settlement, that you do not accept that you have been treated fairly and that you plan to complain further both to the company's customer service department and, potentially, to IBAS.
If you do not explain this, the business may reasonably believe that you have accepted their settlement, which could result in important evidence not being retained, making it harder for IBAS or a court to adjudicate on your dispute at a later date.
Q: Why should I trust IBAS to be fair when it is the gambling companies whose fees pay for the service?
IBAS is funded by gambling companies because the Gambling Commission requires those companies to offer a free adjudication service for customers. Our independence and commitment to fairness comes from our team – which consists of industry professionals, experienced sports and betting journalists and Case Managers with relevant knowledge, interest in the subject matter and personal integrity.
Gambling companies have no say and are never consulted about our decisions other than asking them to submit an explanation about a dispute (in the same way as the customer does) and also answer any relevant follow-up queries from our panellists (as customers also are).Our ethos is to be fair and transparent, considering disputes based on the facts including rules or terms. The panel may make an assessment of the fairness of those terms, but again this will be done in accordance with independent expert guidance, while customers still retain the right to take a case afterwards to law.
It is worth noting that almost all ombudsmen and complaint handling organisations are funded by fees paid by the businesses whose actions they investigate.
Q: Can I appeal against my ruling?
Yes, if you feel that our ruling is unreasonable we do accept appeals but only in the following circumstances:
- You must appeal within 40 days of receiving your ruling
- There must be some factual error or mistake in the ruling, or
- You will need to present some new evidence that was not made available when we first considered the case.
We don’t conduct reviews of our rulings just because the recipient is unhappy with them. That goes equally for consumers and operators. In every dispute there are two sides who believe that they are in the right. We have to accept that with every ruling we make one of the two parties unhappy.
Q: If you find in my favour can you guarantee that I will get paid?
It is a condition of being registered with IBAS that gambling businesses operators agree to abide by our adjudications and in almost all cases there will be no problems.
If you receive a ruling in your favour but encounter difficulty getting paid then please contact our office immediately. We would strike off our register any company that refused to comply with an IBAS ruling (unless they lodged a successful appeal or overturned the decision in court) but we have no legal powers to force a company to make a payment.
If our Panel adjudicate in your favour we will do everything that we can to ensure that you are paid and there are no problems in 99% of the cases that we consider.
Q: Are there any circumstances where you won’t adjudicate on a dispute?
We will always try to take on any dispute, but there are some reasons for declining to adjudicate. These are set out in our Terms and Conditions and include:
- We feel that not enough effort has already been made to try and resolve the problem with the gambling business
- The dispute appears to us to have no substance or any realistic prospect of success for you (this is described in the law as being ‘vexatious or frivolous’)
- It is more than 12 months since your last meaningful efforts to try to resolve the dispute – any dispute older than this becomes extremely difficult to look into because of records not being kept or, quite simply, the memories of both parties having faded
- We believe that the matter under dispute is either too legally technical for us to deal with or a matter that requires police intervention, such as where the dispute involves an allegation of a crime being committed
- The dispute relates to a customer with an apparent gambling problem that should be considered by responsible gambling specialists at the Gambling Commission
- The company you are in dispute with isn’t registered with IBAS but has chosen to have their customer complaints handled by a different ADR service