Mediation is an amicable dispute resolution method, facilitated by recourse to a third party called ombudsman. Via this process, the parties themselves voluntarily attempt to find a solution to their dispute with the aid of a ombudsman.
Consumption mediation concerns a dispute between a professional (a company) and a consumer (individual acting in a private capacity unrelated to his or her commercial, industrial, artisanal or professional activity). In such cases, further to the publication of the order of 20 August 2015, included in the Consumer Code, the latter applies, vesting the ombudsman with particular prerogatives; in addition, the ombudsman must be approved as a “consumption ombudsmen” by the Mediation Assessment and Control Commission (CECM in French), which is the case for the ENGIE Group’s Ombudsman since 26 February 2016 .
Mediation is not mandatory, it results from the willingness of the parties to find an amicable solution, i.e. without having to go to court. This means that either party may decide to withdraw from the mediation process at any time.
Consumption mediation is free for consumers submitting their cases.
At the request of the parties, the mediation process may culminate in a settlement: in effect, a settlement stems from the parties’ willingness to seek a compromise. A settlement has the same legal force as a court decision and definitively puts an end to the dispute.
There are other alternative dispute resolution methods, such as:
When no amicable solution to the dispute can be found, there is still the option of going to court: the judge then delivers a court ruling based on law to bring the dispute to an end, which is enforceable.