Following its successful trial earlier this year, the Consumer Ombudsman is a free service for customer complaints and it joins the Ombudsman Services group, which already mediates disputes within communications, energy, property and copyright licencing industries.
The Consumer Ombudsman will mainly focus on home improvements and maintenance, retail, second-hand cars, car repairs and car servicing.
Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to use the service:
1. Complain directly to the company
Your first port of call should be to contact the company in question with your complaint. If your complaint isn’t being managed in a timely manner, try to escalate the issue through the company’s complaints or customer service team.
2. Compile and record your evidence
Keep a record of when you have contacted the company and save any emails and letters you have regarding the complaint.
MoneySavingExpert’s free resolver tool is a good resource to use as it has letter templates and tips on how to document your complaint.
3. Be patient
Before contacting the Consumer Ombudsman, you need to ensure the company you are complaining to has had sufficient time to respond to your claim.
If it’s been more than eight weeks, however, you can proceed to the next step.
4. Register your complaint
Visit the Consumer Ombudsman website to register your complaint.
You will have to go through a series of questions, including any financial loss you have encountered, as well as uploading supporting documents about your claim.
5. Explore various outcomes
The Ombudsman will try to seek a resolution between you and the company within 10 working days. If a resolution cannot be reached, options such as getting in touch with Trading Standards or a small claims court will be looked into with you.
It is worth mentioning that the Consumer Ombudsman cannot stop companies from operating or issue fines or bans.
The outcome from the Ombudsman is also not legally binding unless retailers or service providers agree to join the Ombudsman.
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