Our processes

We ensure our services are widely accessible.

We base our decisions on what is fair and reasonable.

When we make a decision we take into account:

  • both sides of the story
  • regulatory rules, guidance and standards
  • codes of practice, relevant law and regulations
  • what is accepted as good industry practice
Before we accept complaints from your customers' we must give you a reasonable opportunity to resolve them.

If you give your customer your final position on the complaint (deadlock) and your customer remains unhappy, or eight weeks pass and the complaint remains unresolved, we may be able to help.

We aim to find a quick, informal and realistic resolution to your customers' complaints which you both agree on. Our experience shows that where we can reach a mutually acceptable settlement, we can help companies to retain their customers.

Our method

We want to resolve complaints as early and as easily as possible for you and your customer. We do this in the following ways:

Verbal acceptance

In order to simplify our process we no longer require the complainant to sign and return a complaint form to us. Instead we ask for authority to proceed over the phone. Our calls are normally recorded.

When a complaint is accepted for resolution we will assess the information we have and decide the most appropriate way to proceed.

Early resolution (ER)

If we notice that a complaint can be resolved simply, without the need for a case file, and within five days, we will contact you by phone or email and let you know. If both parties agree to our resolution, this becomes the ombudsman’s decision and the proposed resolution will be binding. We will write to both parties to confirm what has been agreed.

Mutually acceptable settlement (MAS)

If we notice that a complaint is more complex and likely to take longer than five days to resolve, we will request a case file. When we have the information from both parties, we will prepare an investigation plan. Based on our assessment of what has gone wrong and what should be done to resolve the problem, we will contact both parties, preferably by phone, to discuss the complaint and its resolution and try to reach agreement. If both parties agree, this becomes the ombudsman’s decision and the proposed resolution is enforceable. We will write to both parties to confirm what has been agreed.

Ombudsman Services decision (OSD)

We will contact both parties, preferably by phone, to explain our decision and the reasons why we have arrived at it. If either party considers there is an error in fact or has new information which was not previously available, this may be given to us for consideration. We will check to see if this affects the outcome before the ombudsman services decision is finalised. We will contact both parties again to explain if there has been any change to the decision, or if it remains the same. If the complainant accepts the ombudsman services decision, the resolution will be enforceable.