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About Ombudsman services OS

About Ombudsman Services

Ombudsman Services is a national private sector ombudsman scheme. We independently resolve complaints between consumers and companies that are signed up to our scheme. Our service is free for consumers. We are an impartial and cost effective means of resolving disputes outside of the courts.

Services we can help with

We are approved to provide alternative dispute resolution across a range of sectors including energy, communications and property. We are also approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute to provide redress in non-regulated sectors such as retail and home improvement. Read more about our credentials.


We were founded in 2002 to provide independent dispute resolution. We operate under appropriate legislation and regulatory authority and our governance ensures that we are independent. Our Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman is Mr Lewis Shand Smith. We employ 428 case handlers, approximately 85% of whom are employed on a full time basis and 15% of whom are employed on a fixed term contract basis. Case handlers are appointed upon successful completion of an interview and a skills based selection test. Read more about our governance.

Not-for profit

The Ombudsman Service Ltd is a not for profit organisation, limited by guarantee. This means that we do not have shareholders and do not pay dividends. We can make a surplus but with no dividends to distribute, this surplus is used for two specific purposes: to provide sufficient reserves to ensure the company can continue operating against a background of variability of income; and to invest back into the business to further its aims of independent redress.


Our business model is responsive, sustainable and provides value for money. There is no cost to the public purse. We are funded by those whose complaints we handle through a combination of subscription and case fees. The case fee is our charge to consider a complaint - its payment is not dependent on outcome. This means that the more complaints companies resolve in-house, the less they pay; this provides an incentive for them to improve their customer service. Read more about our funding. Information about our finances is also published in our annual reports.

Good for business

If you are a company that is considering using Ombudsman Services as your dispute resolution provider our working with Ombudsman Services brochure may help.

Ombudsman Services leaflets

We are able to send you the information on our website in hard copy format. Please let us know what information you would like and your address and we will send it to you.