This page sets out what we consider to be unreasonable behaviour and the actions we might take if a customer’s behaviour goes beyond what we consider to be acceptable.
An overview of our policy
Treating all our customers fairly and listening to them so that we can resolve their complaint is at the heart of what we do. We recognise that the issues leading to a complaint can be frustrating and upsetting. But our staff always deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect - so if frustration or upset turns into unreasonable behaviour, we will take action to manage this.
This policy sets out what we consider to be unreasonable behaviour and the actions we might take if a customer’s behaviour goes beyond what we consider to be acceptable.
This policy applies to:
- all areas of our work
- anyone who contacts us including existing or potential customers, representatives and businesses
- all methods of contact including telephone, face-to-face, letters, e-mails, social media and other digital channels
Before we make any decisions under this policy, we’ll conduct a review of what’s happened, and we’ll always consider the customers’ individual circumstances. If we decide to take action to manage unreasonable behaviour, we’ll explain why to the customer.
Complaints about our service
We want to provide our customers with excellent service and a high level of quality in how we handle complaints. But if a customer is unhappy with something we do, or the service we’ve provided, they should contact us.
If you want to complain to us about the service we’ve given you, use our complaints procedure and we’ll try to resolve the problem. Find out more about how we look at complaints about our customer service.
Aggressive or abusive behaviour
We deal with emotive matters that are important to our customers, so we accept that customers may be unhappy when they contact us or may not agree with the outcome we reach. But it’s unacceptable for our staff to experience aggressive or abusive behaviour while at work. So we won't accept or tolerate behaviour that we consider to be violent, insulting or threatening, such as:
- offensive language
- any form of discrimination
- inflammatory statements
- threat of physical violence
We’ll always help our customers understand what they can expect from our service. But if a customer makes unreasonable demands, this impacts our ability to provide the service we want to everyone who approaches us.
Examples of unreasonable demands include:
- insisting on a response or action within an unreasonable timeframe
- insisting on speaking to a particular member of staff when we’ve explained they’re not available
- insisting on speaking to someone who we’ve explained isn’t the appropriate person
Excessive levels of contact
We understand customers will contact us about their complaint to discuss it or provide further updates. But, if the frequency of contact becomes excessive it can impact on our ability to do our job.
Examples of excessive contact include:
- making the same request to multiple members of staff without good reason
- repeated phone calls including to our helpline, emails, letters or visits to our offices when we’ve already given a response, or we’ve set expectations about when to expect a response
- unreasonable and persistent use of our service complaint process
Actions we might take
Where we find the behaviour and demands of our customers to be unreasonable, we will consider whether we need to take more formal action. We’ll aim to keep the impact of this to the minimum necessary to solve the problem. The actions we’ll consider may include – but may not be limited to – the following:
- explaining to the customer why we think their behaviour is unreasonable and what action we might take if it continues
- stop communicating about a particular issue or question that we feel we’ve already responded to or answered
- stop communicating with someone by phone and communicate in writing or by audio recording only
- stop communicating with someone directly, and communicate through a representative only
- no longer look into a complaint at all
- in circumstances we consider to be exceptional, we will notify relevant public authorities