How to raise concerns about our service
- to respect our clients confidentiality;
- to act impartially, fairly, objectively and consistently in all our work;
- to be open with our clients;
- to be courteous and helpful at all times;
- to act promptly;
- to provide value for money;
- to be accountable for what we do.
If you believe that we have not met these aims or you are unhappy about any other aspect of our service you may wish to use our complaints procedure. This leaflet explains the remit and powers of the Office and sets out the complaints procedure. Please note that we cannot apply this procedure if you are the subject of a prosecution by the Office. In that case the courts will make the decision on whether we have acted correctly or not. The procedure will not be applied if you are unhappy with a policy that the Office operates. However, the Office will consider any views you may have on its policies and their effectiveness. Please raise any such issues by letter addressed to the Chief Officer.
The Work of The Office
In summary our work involves enforcing criminal consumer protection legislation and advising on civil consumer legislation.
The criminal legislation enforced by the Office only covers persons in business and is intended to ensure that consumers are protected and that a level playing field exists for competing Island businesses. Our legislation covers a wide variety of matters such as weights and measures, inaccurate descriptions of goods or services, timeshare complaints, and we register moneylenders, fireworks stores and video shops as well as ensure the safety at petrol stations. We make considerable efforts to ensure that businesses understand their legal obligations but when necessary our qualified Trading Standards Officers can issue a range of formal warnings when breaches of legislation occur, with the final sanction being prosecution. When reaching decisions on action of such a serious nature, staff take into account the circumstances of the breach, the attitude of the business and the level of risk to the consumer. To give a formal caution is not the decision of one officer alone. The Trading Standards Officer is required to investigate serious breaches fully and provide a report which justifies the warning for the approval of the Chief Officer. Likewise any proposed prosecution must be considered both by the Chief Officer and the Government’s Legal Officer, the Attorney General.
The Office cannot enforce civil legislation. Such legislation provides consumers with certain rights when purchasing goods and services and these rights can ultimately only be enforced by the consumer through the Courts. Unsatisfactory goods and services, breaches of contracts for goods and services are examples of matters covered by civil legislation. The Office does provide advice and information on civil legislation and our staff place an emphasis on encouraging consumers and businesses to behave fairly and reasonably when dealing with problems. Staff receive regular training and supervision to ensure that you receive a high quality service. Based upon their knowledge and experience they will tell you honestly if they feel that you do not have a case worth pursuing and sometimes the best advice our staff can give is for the parties involved to take legal advice.
If you are not happy with our service
- Ask the officer who is dealing with you to explain fully why they have reached their decision.
- If you are still unhappy with the decision or with the way in which you have been treated ask to speak to a senior officer of the Office who will review your case.
- If you remain dissatisfied or if your complaint is about the behaviour or attitude of a member of staff you can raise a Formal Complaint.
If you wish to take your concerns further you may make a Formal Complaint. A procedure is in place within the Office to investigate such complaints.
This procedure is as follows:-
- On receipt of your written complaint the Chief Officer will appoint an Investigating Officer who will have had no connection with the matter. The Chief Officer will notify you of the name of the Investigating Officer and advise you of the time the investigation is likely to take.
- The Investigating Officer will carry out the investigation in a full and unbiased manner and will interview and take signed statements (where possible) from any person they see as necessary.
- The Investigating Officer will prepare a report for the Chief Officer which may include suggested recommendations for action.
- The Chief Officer will review the contents of the report and will notify you of the outcome of the investigation.
- The Chief Officer will ensure that the recommendations he has accepted are implemented.
All Formal Complaints must be made in writing and addressed to:-
The Chief Officer
Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading
Lord Street, Douglas
Isle of Man, IM1 1LE
Any complaint of misconduct against the Chief Officer will be considered by the Civil Service Commission and should be sent to:-
Civil Service Commission
Illiam Dhone House
2 Circular Road, Douglas
Isle of Man, IM1 1PH