The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme
Ombudsman Services considers complaints regarding domestic installations undertaken by traders that belong to The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme (HIES), who are contractors or installers of home insulation, energy saving and energy producing products. If you have been unable to resolve a complaint with a member of HIES regarding a domestic installation we may be able to help. Consumers who bring their complaint to us receive a completely free, fair and independent service for dealing with disputes between them and a HIES registered member.
Complaining about a member of HIES
Before you can access our service you must check that the company your complaint relates to is a member of HIES. The company must first have the opportunity to resolve the problem for you. Members are required to have their own complaints process which you should follow. If the company is unable to resolve the complaint for you, contact HIES to let them know you have an unresolved complaint about one of its members.
Using the ombudsman scheme
There are some rules about when we can help
HIES offer a free independent mediation service. This can often assist in resolving a dispute, without the need to formally refer this to us. You may wish to consider utilising this service, but you are not obligated to do so.
We can accept and investigate a complaint you refer to us providing:
- you have formally registered your complaint with the company involved within 12 months of knowing about the problem; and you have either received a deadlock letter* or eight weeks has elapsed and the member has still not finalised their investigation or issued a deadlock letter*; or
- you have utilised the mediation services provided by HIES, but have been unable to agree an amicable solution to your complaint. In this case HIES will issue a deadlock letter* and should you agree they will pass the details of your complaint directly to us on your behalf.
We cannot accept and investigate a complaint where you have already accepted a final settlement or resolution in relation to the complaint. Or where you approach us more than six months after a deadlock letter* was issued.
*A deadlock letter is an official letter to you confirming that it has not been possible to resolve the complaint and you have not already accepted a final settlement or resolution in relation to the complaint.
Deadline for raising a complaint
You must tell HIES about your complaint within 12 months from the date you first complained to its member; or if a deadlock letter has been issued, within six months of the deadlock letter.
What we can deal with
We can deal with complaints where:
- the complaint relates to a business that was registered with HIES when your contract was agreed; and
- the complainant is not seeking a financial award of greater than £100,000 in relation to the dispute (these are the limits to any award we can make).
What we cannot deal with
We cannot accept a complaint if:
- you did not give the HIES member notice within 12 months of knowing about the problem;
- the business was not a Member of HIES at the time the Contract for any works was agreed;
- the complaint is made more than six months after the member advised you that it is unable or unwilling to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction - for example in a deadlock letter or, if a deadlock is not issued, after nine months from complaining to the HIES member;
- the complaint appears to be frivolous or vexatious;
- the complaint has no reasonable prospect of success, recovery or redress;
- the complaint is not about a HIES member; or
- the complaint has been or is subject to court proceedings, arbitration, or other independent procedure for the resolution of the complaint. Unless there is proof that the process has been abandoned, stayed or suspended.
Ombudsman Services’ discretion
Ombudsman Services has absolute discretion to decide whether a complaint is within its terms of reference.
It is not our role to punish companies when deciding what solution to provide. Our awards will be proportionate and will take into account all of the facts in the complaint.
How might things be put right?
If we decide to make an award, and you accept it, the company must comply with our decision. This might include
- a service or a practical action,
- an apology;
- an explanation of what has happened; or
- a financial award
- If a financial award is needed, this will be an amount that we consider appropriate to the individual complaint. We can award up to £100,000.