How we deal with your complaint

Informal complaint resolution

We will deal with your complaint informally at first by talking to you about your complaint and understanding it from your point of view and we will also talk to your provider.

We aim to help you to reach an agreement with your provider through mediation. Mediation is informal and totally confidential. It often takes place over the phone.

For more detailed information on our informal complaint resolution our 'Code of Ethics and Practice for the resolution of disputes using mediation techniques' may be of interest to you

Possible outcomes of mediation are:

  • The complaint is resolved. You and your provider come to an agreement about your complaint.
  • Issues are clarified; the issues to do with the complaint are made clear and the complaint does not continue.
  • The complaint is not resolved and the complaint continues to a formal investigation

Formal complaint resolution

This is more formal and time-consuming for you and your provider. Therefore, we recommend that you actively take part in the informal complaint resolution.

During our formal investigation, we ask the provider for more information about your complaint. We may also ask you for further information. In most complaints, we will exchange all the information you submit with the provider and exchange the providers' submissions with you. This can take a considerable amount of time depending on the volume of paperwork you both submit.

Any issue about whether a complaint is within our remit, may also be dealt with at this stage.

We review all the information received during our investigation to help us to reach a decision on your complaint.

We make the decision on your complaint. This decision is legally binding, which means that it can be appealed only to the High Court.

If a complaint is upheld, substantially upheld or partially upheld by the Ombudsman, he may direct the provider to pay compensation to the consumer or he may direct the provider to rectify or correct the issue. If a complaint is rejected, no action will be directed by the Ombudsman.

Appeal our Decision

If you are not satisfied, you can appeal to the High Court against our legally binding decision (within 35 days of the decision). The provider also has the right to appeal our decision.

Although our services are free, remember that going to High Court is not. If you appeal our decision and you are not successful, you may have to pay all the legal costs.