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ombudsman news

issue 133

June 2016

I've heard businesses now need to give your web address when sending a final response letter - is that right?

Yes, that’s right. As part of new complaints handling rules that have applied since July 2015, businesses need to provide details of our website in their final response to a customer’s complaint. Businesses will also need to include a link in their “summary resolution communication” - where they’re responding to a customer’s complaint within three business days.

Our website aims to help people understand the ombudsman’s approach - so they can decide for themselves in the first instance whether they’ve been treated fairly. People are increasingly finding it more convenient to manage their lives and finances online - so it makes sense to point people to our own service online too. And by understanding our approach at this early stage, people may be less likely to escalate a complaint to us unnecessarily.

We’ve also got a range of online support for businesses to help them find a fair answer first time. As we’ve highlighted in our annual review, over the last year we’ve added online resources covering issues ranging from equity release to problems with cars. Businesses can also call us on 020 7964 1400 to talk through customers’ complaints informally - or for practical answers about the ombudsman and complaints.

I've recently had a phone call from the ombudsman about a complaint I'm still looking into. I thought I had eight weeks at this stage - has something changed?

Under the rules that cover our service, businesses usually have up to eight weeks to look into a complaint from one of their customers. But - as part of new rules introduced last summer - we can look into a complaint during those eight weeks if the business and their customer both agree to our involvement.

As our principal ombudsman Garry Wilkinson explained in our ombudsman news focus in January, this is all part of our work with businesses to help sort out their customers’ problems as quickly and easily as possible. By getting involved early, we can prevent complaints becoming entrenched - saving time and resources all round.

We’ve been encouraged by the response we’ve had from businesses to working in this way. If you have any questions about a complaint you’re dealing with - or you want to know more about how we’re working to sort things at an early stage - our free technical advice helpline is on hand to help on 020 7964 1400.

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