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Which? Trusted Traders

Which? Trusted Traders 

About the Ombudsman

Ombudsman Services considers complaints about traders that belong to the Which? Trusted Traders scheme.

At the heart of Which? Trusted Traders is an endorsement scheme to recognise reputable and trustworthy traders who successfully pass an assessment process.

Which? Trusted traders have signed up to a self-regulatory Code of Conduct and a complaints policy to use when dealing with complaints from customers. This means that if you have an unresolved complaint about a Which? Trusted trader you can ask us to look at it.

When we can help

Complaining about a Which? Trusted trader

Before you can access our service you must contact the trader to tell them that you are unhappy and to try to resolve any problems.

The trader must first have a chance to resolve the problem for you.

Which? Trusted traders are required to have their own complaints processes, which you must follow. You can check that a trader is registered with the Which? Trusted Trader scheme here www.whichtraders.co.uk

Once you have complained to the trader they should acknowledge your complaint and offer a course of action within 28 days. If you accept the proposal, the trader has a further eight weeks to implement the agreed resolution.

There are some rules about when we can help

Before we will formally accept your complaint you must:

  • register your complaint with the trader involved and give them at least eight weeks to resolve it; or
  • have received a deadlock letter* from the trader.

If you have accepted a proposal from the trader but it has not been implemented within eight weeks, we may still be able to help.

There is a deadline for bringing a complaint to us

You must bring your complaint to the ombudsman within eight months of your first complaint to the trader.

When to complain

You must tell the trader about the problem within 12 months of knowing about it.

Once you have complained to the trader they should acknowledge your complaint and offer a course of action within 28 days.

If you have been unable to reach a resolution with the trader and more than eight weeks have passed since you first complained, you can ask us to look at your complaint.

We can look at complaints outside these timeframes if the trader sends you a deadlock letter*. You must bring the complaint to the ombudsman within six months of the date of this letter.

Telling us about your complaint

If you would prefer someone else to handle your complaint for you, we can make arrangements with you to do this.

What we can deal with

We can deal with complaints where:

  • The trader is an endorsed Which? Trusted trader
  • The action or actions causing your complaint took place after 1 October 2013

What we cannot deal with

We cannot accept a complaint if:

  • You have not complained within the timeframes set out above in ‘When to complain’
  • 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 Which? Trusted trader.
  • The complaint has been or is subject to court proceedings, arbitration, or other independent procedure for the resolution of the complaint or dispute (unless there is proof that the aforementioned process has been abandoned, stayed or suspended).
  • The complaint was previously handled, unless significant evidence has come to the attention of the Ombudsman Services that may have an impact on the previously reached decision.

Ombudsman Services’ discretion

Ombudsman Services has absolute discretion to decide whether a complaint is within its terms of reference.

 

*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.

Make a complaint

To make a complaint about a Which? Trusted Trader please call 0203 4265189 or complete an online complaint form (click here).

Which? Trusted Traders
Ombudsman Services
PO Box 1249
Warrington
WA4 9QQ

Resolutions

It is not our role to punish traders 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 trader must take the action that we require. 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 £25,000.