National Consumer Week - Ombudsman Services Comment

by Communications Team | Nov 02, 2015

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, says: “Our research tells us 72 million complaints weren’t acted upon last year because consumers think complaining will be too much hassle, or they can’t be bothered. But new legislation means it’s now even easier to resolve problems with faulty goods and substandard services. 

“People should have the confidence to purchase goods and services, knowing that if something goes wrong, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services are available to handle unresolved complaints. It’s now a requirement for UK business to offer access to ADR or to explain to their customers if they cannot. From January 2016, this requirement extends to online retailers. We’d urge consumers to use companies that are signed up to ADR schemes, as it shows that they value customer service.” 

This summer Ombudsman Services launched a new online service – www.consumer-ombudsman.org – to handle complaints about products and services in any sector where there is no existing redress. We want to ensure people have access to free and simple dispute resolution, no matter what or who their complaint is with.

We’ve also recently published two new advice guides to help vulnerable groups, in particular students and the elderly, who often aren’t aware of their rights. We encourage consumers to speak up when they encounter a problem, whether that’s with an energy company, a communications provider or a retailer. Our ‘Know Your Rights’ guides for students and those in later life can be downloaded by following the links below:

 

If you have a problem with a company…

  • Make sure you complain – the company can’t fix the problem if it doesn’t know about it.
  • Speak to the company about your issue – they may be able to fix the problem quickly and easily.
  • It can be frustrating but keep your anger in check – being assertive rather than aggressive is more likely to get you the solution you want.
  • Don’t worry about making a fuss and don’t be embarrassed – it’s your right to complain. 
  • Admit your part in the problem if you had any fault.
  • If you’ve spoken to the company and the complaint remains unresolved after a reasonable time, you can approach Ombudsman Services who will look into your dispute. Visit www.consumer-ombudsman.org.
  • If the company is at fault, Ombudsman Services will aim to return you to the position you would have been in had the issue not occurred

 

Published 2 November 2015