Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

How we investigate and resolve complaints.

General

  • Our complaints procedure complies with the rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Customer satisfaction is important to us.  We will investigate every complaint fully and fairly, in the hope of reaching a conclusion satisfactory to all interested parties.
  • We will not confine our investigation to matters raised in the complaint if we find other issues that ought fairly to be included.
  • We strive for constant improvements to our service, so our investigation gives us a reason to examine our own performance.  If we identify shortcomings, we will make suitable improvements.
  • Ideally, we would like every client to be completely satisfied at all times.  However, in justice to all concerned, the investigator will maintain a fair balance between this ideal and imposing a ‘blame culture’ on our staff.

How we will deal with your complaint

  • It will be fully investigated by a named person - normally a Director or the Department Manager.  S/he is unconnected with the subject matter of the complaint.
  • The investigator acknowledges complaints promptly and in writing.  The letter tells the complainant when a further response can be expected, and gives outline information about the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  • The investigator considers the issues put forward by the complainant and responses from the staff members involved, and then –
    • Decides whether or not the complaint could be resolved before the end of three business days. 
    • If so, attempts to do so. Issue of a summary of resolution communication. (Otherwise, the complaint goes on to formal resolution.)
    • If not, informs the complainant of the responses received and invites further comment.
    • Or, if satisfied that all the relevant facts have been established, makes a decision and communicates it to the complainant in a Final Response letter.
  • We may forward all or part of your complaint to a third party – such as a product provider – if we think it relates to their activities.  If we do so, the third party will treat the matter as a complaint from you and will handle it accordingly.  We will continue to investigate and resolve any aspect that we have not forwarded.

Communicating our Response and the Next Steps

  • We aim to send you a Final Response letter within eight weeks of receiving your complaint.  If we haven’t reached a decision within four weeks, we will send you a brief progress report.  There may be exceptional reasons why we cannot meet the eight week target.  If this happens, the investigator will explain the reason and then keep you informed of progress.
  • If s/he upholds the complaint fully or in part, the investigator will consult the directors and make an offer of redress.  This may include any or all of an apology, redress or rectification, or compensation.
  • If we reject the complaint, the investigator will send you a Final Response letter.  The letter will explain our reasons for rejecting your complaint and invite you to -
    • Point out any aspects that you think we have not fully addressed and/or
    • Provide any further relevant facts not previously included in your complaint
  • If we receive any such reaction, we will resume the investigation.
  • In all cases, the Final Response Letter will remind you of your right to refer complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, provide the address, and enclose a copy of the FOS leaflet Your Complaint and the Ombudsman.
  • As permitted by the FCA Complaint Handling Rules, the Final Response letter will explain that the complaint is deemed to be closed if you do not contest the decision within eight weeks (when the Final Response was sent within eight weeks of the complaint:  otherwise six months).

Claims Management Companies (CMCs)

  • If you have employed a Claims Management Company, they may have required you to assign your rights to them or to make them the sole channel of communication.  If so, we will not be allowed to communicate directly with you and this leaflet is the only correspondence we will send you.
  • We will deal with complaints submitted through CMCs as thoroughly and fairly as any direct customer complaint.
  • However, if we have reason to suspect the CMC is making fraudulent allegations (including any reckless misrepresentation of the facts), we will report the matter to the CMC regulator