The aim of this guide is to give you a better understanding of the complaint process and our timescales.

The consumer journey below will take you through the different stages in making a complaint. This starts from making the first complaint to your service provider, to the complaints we can accept, and how we investigate and make decisions.

Our customers are currently having to wait longer than we would like for an investigation to begin. This is not acceptable and we are working hard to improve this. In the meantime, the customer journey sets out what you can currently expect at each stage of the process. 

If you have concerns about the wait times and feel they may negatively impact on you or your complaint, for example, because of financial hardship, a serious health concern, or a time limit on a related legal claim, please let us know. 

Covid-19 customer service update 26 January, 2021

Covid-19 has affected the way we are able to deliver our service.

Our opening hours for general enquiries is 9am to 5pm. With many of our staff working from home, and being personally affected by Covid-19 and high sickness levels, and calls can take up to 30 minutes to answer.

Where possible, please get in touch by email or post. You can also submit a new complaint using our Complaint Checker – which is the quickest and easiest way to submit a complaint to us.  

We also have a range of information including our Helpful Resources section (see below) where you will find links to our case studies, FAQ’s and factsheets. Our Consumer Journey will help you take the first step in making a complaint to your legal service provider.

Thank you for your understanding and patience in this difficult time.

Helpful resources

How to Complain

How to Complain

First you need to tell your legal service provider that you are unhappy with their service.

Eligibility

Eligibility

Our Complaint Checker tool takes 10 minutes to complete and will tell you if we can help with your complaint.

  • Use our complaint checker time-saving tool to see if we are the right people to help you.
  • If we can help with your complaint you will also need to fill in a complaint form.
  • If you do not want to complete the online complaint form, you can also download it here and return it by email or post. It is also available in Welsh.
  • If you have difficulty completing our online forms, please visit our accessibility page to find out how we can help.

Every year we help thousands of people with their complaints

Every year we help thousands of people with their complaints
Understanding

Understanding

When we're clear that your complaint is eligible an investigator will get in touch with you to make sure they understand the complaint.

They will also contact your service provider to listen to their point of view.

Hearing both sides of the story helps us to see ways in which we might resolve the issue.

  • They will gather evidence from you and your legal service provider.
  • They will confirm what aspects of your complaint we can investigate.
  • We have a high number of cases at the moment so it may be a while before an investigator contacts you.

We need you to:

  • Send us the key evidence by the date our investigator gives you.
  • Tell us if you need more time.
  • Follow our investigation process.

In 2019/20 ombudsmen found unreasonable service in 51% of cases

In 2019/20 ombudsmen found unreasonable service in 51% of cases
Investigating

Investigating

We'll begin our investigation once we fully understand your complaint and have the evidence we need. We complete most investigations in 3-6 months, but more complex complaints can take up to 12 months.

  • You will receive updates on the progress of your investigation
  • We will consider the relevant information from both parties
  • We will share our views with both parties. 

Many complaints are resolved at agreed outcome stage

Many complaints are resolved at agreed outcome stage
Resolving it together

Resolving it together

We'll share our assessment of the complaint with you and your service provider, with the aim to reach an outcome that is acceptable to both parties. We call this an agreed outcome.

  • If we can't reach an agreed outcome the investigator writes a case decision.
  • You and your service provider will have the opportunity to comment.
  • You can still accept the investigators view once you've read the case decision.
  • Our guidance on determining complaints and putting things right may be helpful.
Ombudsman Decision

Ombudsman Decision

The final stage of our complaints process.

  • If either party does not agree with the case decision then an ombudsman will make the final decision.
  • They will review the complaint by looking at the available evidence and the case decision.
  • If you accept the decision the service provider must follow the outcome.
  • If you do not accept the decision there are no more steps in our process.