How we work

Working with consumers and businesses to resolve complaints

Our people are friendly, approachable and reflect our company values.

    • We are trained to listen and to provide a helping hand to consumers and businesses in resolving disputes;
    • We help to get the complaint resolved as quickly as possible with the most appropriate outcome; and
    • We work closely with businesses to provide support and industry-wide information and guidance. This helps to improve the way services are delivered and complaints are handled

What can I expect?

Resolving your dispute as quickly as possible is important to us. However, the amount of time our fully in-house dispute resolution process takes will depend on the nature and complexity of your complaint.

We aim to provide an adjudication for all cases we can take on, within 90 calendar days from receiving a complete case file. However, for complex cases, or for cases that are referred to an ombudsman for a final decision, this can take substantially longer.

The information below outlines each stage of our process, as well as how we work.

If you have any accessibility needs, you can find more information about using our service here.


Initial Enquiry

When you first send us information about your unresolved dispute with a business, we’ll check we have the information we need from you to get started. If we think we need more information – for example, to check you’ve complained to the business first, we’ll contact you.

If we have everything we need from you, we’ll let you know if we’ve accepted your case (i.e. the business you have a dispute with is accredited to us, and your complaint falls within our remit as an Ombudsman).

You should hear back from us via email within five working days. In Quarter 1 2022, our average response time was the next working day.

You can read more about our dispute resolution process in our Consumer Guide.

 

Triage

If we can take on your case, it will then be allocated to a case administrator, where we may ask you for any other written documentation we require as part of our evidence gathering process.

We’ll often call you to make sure we’ve understood your complaint. However, the majority of our communication will be by e-mail.

Our triage process involves gathering evidence from both parties and providing helpful information on how to present the facts of their case. The objective of this is to collate a complete case file with all the relevant information, that can then be passed to the dispute resolution team.

The benefit of this approach, is that we should not need to request any further information at a later date. Once we have compiled the case file i.e. we have received information from both the consumer and the business in order to make a decision, we’ll let both parties know by email.

 

Dispute Resolution

The complete case file will then be passed to an adjudicator who will review all the evidence and provide a decision, as well as an explanation as to how it has been reached, to both parties by e-mail.

The average time from complete case file to the adjudication in Quarter 1 2022 was 51 working days.

Please note, a complex complaint, or where either party disagrees with the initial decision or asks for a final decision, may mean it will take longer to reach a resolution. However, we will always keep you updated as things progress.

 

Ombudsman’s Final Decision

If either you or the business disagree with the adjudicator’s findings, and you have further evidence which is different to what you have already supplied, you can request a final decision from one of our ombudsmen. Please note, we reserve the right to reject this request should we consider that any additional evidence provided is not substantially different from that which we have already considered.

A final decision becomes legally binding on both yourself and the business if you choose to accept it.

How long this part of our process takes will depend on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the case and the further evidence supplied. We will of course keep you updated with your case’s progress periodically during this time.

You retain the right to withdraw from our proceedings at any stage. However, if you do accept our final decision, you may lose your right to take the complaint elsewhere. You can read more information about our powers here.