We provide industry leading dispute resolution services for consumers and members of our schemes. Our three-stage process includes working with the consumer and the company to resolve complaints informally; providing a mediation service to help reach an agreement and access to an independent Ombudsman to determine a dispute and award a remedy.
Mediation and Conciliation Mediation and conciliation are voluntary dispute resolution processes in which a ‘neutral person’ helps the parties try to reach a settlement, preferably a negotiated settlement. The ‘neutral person’ could be an officer of QASSS or someone appointed by QASSS to discuss the problems with both parties to try to reach an agreement without the need to progress to the Ombudsman. Mediation and conciliation are both designed to bring the matter to a speedy conclusion but may not provide the final and binding resolution of a dispute.
Independent Inspections The mediator/conciliator may, at any time, deem it necessary to instruct an independent inspector to carry out a forensic defect analysis report concerning an installation undertaken by the Trade Member. The report may then be used by the mediator/conciliator to further the mediation/conciliation process in an attempt to reach an agreed resolution between the parties. For transparency, copies of the forensic defect analysis report will be supplied to all parties in the dispute with each party being given time to review the contents prior to continuation of the mediation/conciliation process.
All of our dispute resolution services are free of charge to consumers.
Our Dispute Resolution Officers are friendly, approachable and down-to-earth. They are full-time employees with over 7 years experience and are expert mediators having successfully resolved numerous disputes. They are trained to listen and to provide a firm and fair helping hand to consumers and service providers. They help to get the complaint resolved as quickly as possible with the most appropriate outcome. They also work closely with companies to provide one-to-one support and industry-wide advice; this helps to improve the way services are delivered and complaints are handled.
Our processes are designed to be high quality, proportionate and effective. Complaints are usually resolved within six to eight weeks.
If the consumer chooses not to accept our decision, their (the complainant) legal rights remain unaffected and they can take the matter to court – subject to any requirements set by the courts.
We ensure our services are widely accessible. We base our decisions on what is fair and reasonable.
If one of the parties has sought to deliberately mislead us on a matter relating to the existence or non-existence of one of the grounds for refusing to deal with the dispute, we retain the right to immediately refuse to deal with the dispute any further, even after the three-week deadline has passed.
When we make a decision we take into account:
Before we can accept your complaint you must give the company a reasonable opportunity to resolve it. If you receive the company’s final position on the complaint (deadlock) and you remain unhappy, or eight weeks pass and the complaint remains unresolved, we may be able to help.
There are, however, some reasons why we will not accept complaints. These include:
Initial complaint submissions can be written in any language that can be translated by Google Translate. Our responses, however, will be in English only.
Our procedures can be conducted by both oral and written means, in English.
We will accept cross-border complaints, which is where the trader and consumer reside in different countries.
Consumers can be represented or assisted by a third party.
Consumers do not need to get any independent advice from a solicitor to access our services.
If we accept your complaint we will decide the best way to resolve it and will aim to find a resolution that both you and the company agree on.
The legal effect of the outcome of our procedure is binding on our members, not on the consumer.
You can withdraw from the process at any point. In exceptional circumstances, where the Ombudsman considers it necessary (as a matter of sole discretion) a site visit, expert report or a face-to-face meeting (or hearing) may be arranged.
Consumers can request all the documents we hold in relation to their complaint.
If one of the parties has sought to deliberately mislead us on a matter relating to the existence or non-existence of one of the grounds for refusing to deal with the dispute, we retain the right to immediately refuse to deal with the dispute any further, even though if the three-week deadline has passed.
Ombudsman Services is the UK’s leading independent multisector ombudsman and is approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies to provide redress schemes. Ombudsman Services provides independent dispute resolution and runs national, private sector ombudsman schemes including the communications, energy, property, copyright licensing sectors and the Green Deal. Ombudsman Services currently employs more than 500 people at its Head Office based in Warrington.
Please Download the Ombudsman Services Brochure which helps explain to consumers how Ombudsman Services works, their powers and how to complain.
A dispute resolution body is an impartial organisation or individual that helps consumers and traders reach an out-of-court settlement. This is usually quicker and cheaper than going to court.
The ODR platform is easy to use and takes users through the dispute resolution process in a step-by-step fashion. It provides translations in all EU languages and has inbuilt time limits for resolving complaints.
Using ODR, consumers can get fair outcomes for free or for a very small charge, while traders can avoid costly litigation procedures and maintain good customer relations.
For full details and/or to register a complaint on the ODR platform please visit the dedicated website.
4.6% of complaints
resolved at this stage