Covid-19 customer service update 7 May, 2021

Our opening hours for general enquiries is 9am to 5pm.

We are continuing to experience a high number of calls, which could take up to 30 minutes to answer.

  • If you would like to tell us about a new complaint, please use our our Complaint Checker; this is the quickest and easiest way to submit a complaint to us. You can also get in touch by email or post.

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.

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

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. 

Helpful resources

How to Complain

How to Complain

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

Checking your complaint

Checking your complaint

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

If we can help with your complaint you will need to:

  • Fill in a complaint form. You can fill in the complaint form online or download a copy and return it by email or post. It is also available in Welsh.

  • Provide a copy of the complaint you sent to your service provider and their response to you.

  • 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
When we receive a complaint

When we receive a complaint

We will let you know that we have received your complaint and you will be sent a case reference number. Please keep the number safe and use it whenever you contact us so we can find your complaint quickly.

At this point we will:

  • Make sure we have all the information we need. We might ask for more information or documents.

  • Check that your complaint falls within our rules. Is it within our time limits? Have you complained to your service provider?

  • We will update you once we have checked your complaint. If we think your complaint does not meet one of these checks we will tell you why.

How long?

It is currently taking 6-9 weeks to carry out these initial checks. 

Accepting a complaint

Accepting a complaint

When an investigator is assigned to your complaint they will decide whether an investigation can begin.

As well as checking the complaint is in the rules, they will look at whether our investigation will help both parties to resolve the complaint.

They might contact you, and your service provider to get a better understanding of the complaint before they make this decision. You can read our case studies to find out why we do not always investigate a complaint.

The investigator will let you know if the complaint is accepted for investigation, or not, and what the next steps are.

How long?

It is currently taking 9-12 months for most cases to be accepted, and an investigation to begin. Sometimes more complex cases can take 18-24 months.

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

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

Investigating the complaint

Once we have accepted your complaint the investigation will begin. The investigator will get in touch with you – as they will want to hear your point of view.

  • After speaking with you the investigator will confirm the complaints they are investigating.

  • They will speak to your service provider. Hearing both sides of the story helps us to see ways in which we might resolve the issue.

  • They will ask for evidence from you and your service provider, which the investigator will rely on to form their opinion.

How long? We complete most investigations in 3-6 months, but more complex complaints can take up to 12 months.


We need you to:

  • Send us the key evidence within 7-14 days.

  • Follow our investigation process, which we will explain to you.

  • Tell us if your circumstances mean you need more time, or if you would like us to communicate with you in a different way. For example, if you have difficulties with reading and/or writing.

Many complaints are resolved at agreed outcome stage

Many complaints are resolved at agreed outcome stage
Resolving it together

Resolving it together

The investigator will talk to you about their findings and try to reach an outcome that is acceptable to you and to the service provider. We call this an agreed outcome.

  • If we can’t reach an agreed outcome we will send you a case decision, and the evidence we’ve used.

  • You and your service provider will have 14 days to comment, before it is sent to an ombudsman.

  • You can still accept the investigator’s view once you’ve read the case decision.

  • Our guidance on determining complaints and putting things right may be helpful.
Ombudsman Decision

Ombudsman Decision

An ombudsman is asked to make a decision when an agreed outcome cannot be reached. This is the final stage of our complaint 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 steps set out by the ombudsman.

  • If you do not accept the decision there are no more steps in our process. There is no further appeal stage.