Handling an application

Handling an application

The mediation process between an individual consumer and the ENGIE company is regulated and specified in the French Consumer Code, which stipulates, since August 2015, in application of a 2013 European Directive known as the directive on consumer ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), that mediation must be proposed by a company to its customers, free of charge.

This framework has above all defined exhaustive criteria for nominating an independent mediator paid exclusively by a company.

The ENGIE Group has also chosen to promote mediation in other markets, such as B2B, between companies, or between suppliers and ENGIE. Because there too, in most cases, an amicable solution can be found swiftly through mediation, compared with the time scales observed in legal proceedings.

The Mediation service has thus set up 2 processes that handle mediation cases on each market in the most appropriate and effective manner.

Principles and processes used by ENGIE Group’s Mediation to achieve mediation between companies

Requests that fall outside the Mediator’s remit are immediately referred on to the relevant departments of the ENGIE entity concerned.

In the case of mediation, the Mediator then processes the application in 6 stages:

  • Stage 1: assignment of the request

  • Stage 2: solicitation of the parties

  • Stage 3: constitution of the files

  • Stage 4: proposal of a solution

  • Stage 5: consideration of the proposed solution

  • Stage 6: validation of the mediation solution

The Mediator has put in place a complainants’ satisfaction survey.

Mediation is free for the consumer. The parties can resort to mediation without needing to engage a lawyer. They may however be represented by a lawyer or assisted by anyone of their choosing at any stage of the mediation process (for instance a consumer organisation). They can also seek independent advice on the dispute: if they seek independent advice, notably that of an expert, the party or parties so doing bear the cost thereof. For joint claims, the costs may be shared by both parties.

If either party engages a third party (for instance a lawyer, legal aid, consumer organisation, etc.), several scenarios are possible:

  • the mediation officer deals only with the third party, and the latter informs the complainant of the mediator’s proposals. then the third party in return informs the mediation team of the complainant’s position/decision
  • the mediation officer deals directly with the complainant, who regularly seeks advice from the third party throughout the process, before accepting or rejecting the mediator’s proposals,
  • the mediation officer deals directly with the complainant, copying all exchanges to the third party, in particular the proposed mediation solutions, so that the third party can act effectively in an advisory capacity.

The Mediator regularly reminds the parties (before, during and at the end of the mediation process) that they can withdraw from the process at any time.

The Mediator shall, at the request of one of the parties, communicate all or some of the documents in the file.

The Mediator reminds the parties, before starting the mediation process, and at its conclusion, that:

  • they are free to accept or reject the proposed solution,
  • participation in the mediation process does not rule out the possibility of taking the matter to court,
  • the solution may be different from a decision handed down by a judge,
  • the mediator informs the complainant of the consequences of accepting or rejecting the mediation solution.

Finally, the Mediator sets a deadline for the complainant to accept or reject the solution. On average this is 2 weeks after the solution has been presented to the complainant by the mediation officer. However, on a case-by-case basis and at the request of the complainant, this deadline can be extended if necessary.

As provided for by article R. 612-5 of the French Consumer Code, the Mediator undertakes to settle mediation cases within no more than 90 days. However, where necessary, this deadline can be extended for more complex cases. If this is the case, the Mediator informs the parties of the new planned deadline.

Principles and processes used by ENGIE Group’s Mediation to achieve mediation between companies

Mediation between companies does not altogether follow the same process as a consumer dispute.

In this respect, ENGIE Group has an independent mediator (within the meaning of the French Consumer Code, approved in February 2016, and listed as a European Commission mediator), who has the authority to handle all types of disputes between a Group company and its customers, suppliers, subcontractors, partner… whether the latter are individual consumers or companies.

With regard to a disagreement between a company and ENGIE, the company must refer it to the Mediator. If an ENGIE entity requests mediation with a company, the latter should first agree to it.

The parties then submit their dispute and expectations to the Mediator, who decides whether or not the complaint is admissible (for instance, no mediation if the dispute has gone to court).

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