Area of law: Immigration and asylum
Complaint reason(s): Failure to follow instructions, failure to keep informed, failure to deal with complaint internally
Remedy: To refund fees, to pay compensation
Outcome: Ombudsman decision accepted by complainant
Miss G instructed the firm to apply for leave to remain in the UK.
What happened next was a matter of some debate. Miss G said that she gave the firm a draft list of dates to be used on the application form, as well as a final version. The firm said that Miss G only gave them one list, and these were the dates that were submitted to the UKBA. Miss G also said that the firm sent off her application without her approval, but the firm said she had signed the application and was fully aware it had been submitted.
Miss G was upset to learn that the application had been refused, partly due to incorrect and missing dates. She was even more annoyed when she complained to the firm and they offered to appeal against the UKBA’s decision – but only if she withdrew her complaint.
We investigated the matter and found that there was very little evidence to support either side of the story. However, we used our judgement to say that it was unlikely Miss G had given two lists to the firm. We said that if a final list was available, there would have been no need to provide the draft. Despite this, we said that the firm had still not recorded the correct dates on the application form and this contributed to it being declined.
We said that Miss G must have been aware that the application had been submitted, because she emailed the firm to ask for updates throughout the following months. However, the firm didn’t reply to her emails so that was poor service. Finally, we said that the firm should have dealt with Miss G’s complaint properly, regardless of whether she wanted to appeal the UKBA’s decision.
The ombudsman decided that the firm should refund the fee of £500 because they didn’t submit the application correctly. We also told the firm to pay £200 to Miss G for the upset caused by not keeping her updated and not dealing with her complaint appropriately. She accepted the ombudsman’s decision.