How to complain
If you have a complaint you must:
- First give the supplier a chance to resolve it. Follow the supplier's complaints procedure and give them full details of your complaint and what you think would be a suitable outcome. We expect suppliers to give you a final response to your complaint within 8 weeks.
- If you are still not satisfied at that point, you may refer the complaint to us.
To bring a complaint to the Ombudsmen Scheme
You will need to send us a completed complaint form with copies of all relevant documentation and correspondence.
You may get someone else (such as a friend, relative, advocate or solicitor) to write on your behalf. But we need your written authority before we can discuss your complaint with that person. However, if you decide to employ a professional to assist you, the Adjudicator (or 'Ombudsman') is unlikely to award a refund of any such costs, even if your complaint succeeds.
How we handle complaints
First we will check that your complaint falls within the remit of the Ombudsman Scheme. Then our case officers will look into the complaint to see if it can be resolved informally, with you and the supplier agreeing on a solution. If you or the supplier still do not agree, the Adjudicator will investigate and issue a formal decision on the complaint.
The process of handling complaints is normally done by consideration of the paperwork without the need for face-to-face meetings or hearings. You and the supplier will have the opportunity to put your respective sides of the dispute to the case officer and to the Adjudicator (if it goes that far) and to comment on each other's submission. In some cases, the Adjudicator may decide that there should be a hearing and will also consider a request from either party for a hearing.
Investigating and considering complaints takes time, on average five to six months.
The process is different to that of the courts in that it is more informal and consequently you do not need to have legal representation to help you bring your complaint. The staff of the Ombudsman Scheme will advise you of what you need to do at each stage and will ask for more information if necessary.
The Adjudicator will take into account:
- relevant law
- statutory regulations
- regulator's rules, guidance and standards
- codes of practice
- what he or she considers to have been good practice at the time
For detailed information about the Ombudsmen Scheme, including comlaint restrictions and guidelines, see Explanatory guide.