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information for businesses covered by the ombudsman service

This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:

how we decide cases

how the ombudsman service reaches decisions

how can I be sure you take both sides of the story into account when reaching decisions?

Our decisions are based on what we believe is fair and reasonable in the individual circumstances of each case. We weigh up all the relevant facts and arguments. We then decide - on the balance of probability - the version of events that seems the more likely.

We ask both sides for their views, and listen to each side of the story. We may ask you to comment specifically on what the consumer has told us. Similarly we may ask the consumer for their views on what you have told us.

When considering a case, we'll tell you which points we believe have particular weight. Before we make a final decision, both you and the consumer will have the opportunity to raise new points, or to ask us to re-consider facts and arguments.

We will reach a decision based on our consideration of all the evidence we've drawn together by phoning and writing to both sides. We rarely find it helpful or necessary to hold hearings in person in order to establish the facts of a case.

A decision is binding on the business if the consumer accepts it - and the business cannot withdraw from our complaints process (unless the consumer choses to).