Investigating and dealing with a complaint
Who should investigate?
Initially, a complaint should be dealt with by a senior member of staff not directly involved in the transaction.
If the complaint is not resolved, a second review should be carried out by the Managing Director or Senior Partner or Principal. Such person should have had no previous involvement in the handling of the complaint.
In the case of a sole practitioner firm, it is recommended that the Sole Practitioner should investigate all complaints. Where the Sole Practitioner has not been personally involved in the transaction, there will be a degree of impartiality in the in-house review. Where the Sole Practitioner has been directly involved, this must be clearly stated to the complainant in writing and subsequently (if necessary), to us.
We have seen complaints where final viewpoint letters have been issued prematurely by members of staff who are not authorised to do so. You should have safeguards in place to ensure that final viewpoint letters are issued only by authorised staff, in most cases the nominated complaints contact.
The complaints contact should inform us in writing if they wish to nominate additional or alternative contacts.
I want to make a goodwill offer to resolve the complaint
We will always encourage any opportunity to settle the dispute quickly. You may therefore wish to make a goodwill offer in full and final settlement of all complaints raised.
If the complainant accepts this in full and final settlement of all complaints, the Ombudsman will consider the matter settled.
If a complainant rejects the goodwill offer and refers the complaint to us, we will come to our own conclusion as to whether or not the offer made represents appropriate compensation.
Sometimes, it may be possible for us assist by mediation, helping you and the complainant towards a settlement you can both agree on. You do not have to accept this and if you choose, the complaint will proceed to a formal review.
What if the complainant does not engage with our complaint procedures?
If a complainant contacts us and we establish that they have not engaged with your complaint procedures, in most cases we will refer them back to you, allowing you to complete your internal investigation.