We can consider most types of complaint as long as:
- the consumer has made a satisfactory effort to follow your complaints handling standards;
- a reasonable amount of time has passed since they first raised the complaint;
- you have indicated that you are no longer willing to look at the complaint, or have made a final offer, and the consumer remains dissatisfied.
Steps to resolution
Step one: the resolution process
We will assess the complexity of the complaint and decide the best way to resolve it. In most cases we will try to do so by speaking to you and your customer to see if we can agree a resolution. We may request a case file from you. This is a range of information that we will need to help us to arrive at a resolution. Further information about what you should include in a case file is available here:
Case file communications companies
Case file energy companies
If we are unable to agree a resolution, we will write a report and send this to both parties. This will include our decision and any proposed resolutions. Our service is measured against key performance indicators (KPIs). We aim to issue our reports within six weeks in 90% of the cases we look at. If you or the consumer disagree with what we've proposed, you can write to us and request a review, but only if:
- we have made a significant error in fact; or
- you have important new evidence that would have a material effect on our decision, had it been available earlier.
This is the final opportunity to give us any additional information.
Step two: the ombudsman's final decision
If you or your customer challenges our report and we decide that we need to review the information or proposed resolutions, an ombudsman will make the final decision. The ombudsman’s final decision signifies the end of our process. The ombudsman’s final decision cannot be challenged and there is no right of appeal. If the customer accepts our final decision you have 28 days to carry out all of the actions. We will continue to work with you and the customer to make sure that this happens. If the customer declines the decision or fails to respond to us with the given time frame, the consumer loses the right to the solution offered, but remains free to complain in another way, for example through the courts. In this situation we have no further involvement in the complaint and the case is closed.