Consumer Advice Service Charter
The subject areas covered by the Advice Service are described separately within the other leaflets published by the Isle of Man Government Office of Fair Trading and are available on request. Areas covered can be summarised as follows:
- Contractual disputes for goods or services
When you contact us you can expect to be treated with courtesy and politeness. We recognise that the complaints you bring to us will be of great concern and are often the cause of stress. It is our intention therefore to provide an informed and accurate response that will explain your rights and limit your liabilities. You should also understand that we treat information in strict confidence.
The civil law gives you the complainant the right to take action in the courts and not this Office.
While we provide advice on the law the consumer advisers cannot provide expert opinion on anything else. We are not builders/car mechanics/engineers etc. and you may have to approach these individuals yourself for any expert testimony required in going to court. While we do not charge for our service they will usually charge for theirs.
The consumer adviser will take you through the steps to resolve your complaint. You will be expected to take the first step for yourself in contacting the trader and communicating your complaint to him. We advise this is done in a courteous manner.
If you reach deadlock with your efforts we can then attempt to mediate – but again it must be noted that we cannot insist on any particular outcome and ultimately you may have to go to court. No guarantee can be offered that any civil case you take will be successful.
You may not like what you hear!
We will give you the best advice we can based on the evidence you bring to us. There is no point raising your hopes of a swift end to your complaint in your favour if the law and trader indicate otherwise.
Your interpretation of the same event may differ from the other party in a dispute. We are not here to decide who is right and who is wrong but merely to indicate how you should progress a complaint in the light of what you tell us.
Our Service Standards
We attempt to acknowledge complaints quickly. We will attempt to gain a response to your complaint from the other party within 14 days of you contacting us. If no response has been forthcoming we will try again before advising you of the outcome of our efforts.
If we have asked you to send in documentation after an initial contact with the Office, we will not acknowledge receipt unless asked to do so. This saves us time in processing your complaint.
Once we are dealing with a matter for you we will provide updates as things happen that need your comment.
Just because we haven’t contacted you does not mean we have forgotten about your concerns. We will always be glad to talk to you if you wish to ask for an update on progress but this does often hamper our efforts if too much time is wasted.
We also ask for patience from you as we are dealing with a considerable number of complaints at any one time, each of which is afforded equal importance.
At the end of the complaint process you should be left in no doubt as to your rights of action and any obligations you may have incurred. In most cases written confirmation of the final outcome will be sent to provide absolute certainty. The Office also produces information booklets that may be provided to further explain your position.
Where progress is made in complaint resolution the Office cannot be held to any particular time scale in achieving an end result. Often progress turns on events which are outside the control of the case officer (e.g. the provision of an expert witness testimony) but we will always attempt to explain delays to you and all reasonable efforts will be made to keep time spent to a minimum.
If you do have any complaints about an adviser or the service provided to you, a detailed complaints procedure exists that can be obtained from these offices.
What we ask of you
We expect to be treated politely. If at any time the advice staff suffer any abuse we reserve the right to withdraw our service. Any physical abuse will result in an immediate report to the police. All complaints are afforded equal priority.
We ask you to take the complaint as far as you can. Only when you have made all efforts will we then attempt to mediate on your behalf. If you do not act on our advice then your complaint may be prejudiced and we can take no responsibility for this.
Information supplied to us should be accurate and complete. If you are not truthful you can’t expect the correct advice to be given. This can prejudice your case.
If progress with a complaint is made and a result achieved we would ask that this be communicated to us as soon as possible so that our records can be completed and the file closed. Delay may waste our time when we could be dealing with other complaints.
We would like to thank you in advance for acting in this suggested manner. We would also like to encourage comments on this charter, good or bad, as we constantly strive to improve our service provision.