About the Ombudsman
Dispute Resolution Ombudsman works with Which? Trusted Traders to raise industry standards and ensure that their consumers have an additional layer of protection in case something goes wrong. At the heart of Which? Trusted Traders is an endorsement scheme to recognise reputable and trustworthy traders who successfully pass a rigorous assessment process. Which? Trusted Traders have signed up to a self-regulatory Code of Conduct and a complaints policy to use when dealing with complaints from customers. This means that if you have an unresolved complaint about a Which? Trusted trader you can ask us to independently investigate it.
When can we help
We can investigate a case against a Which? Trusted trader if you have already been through the trader's complaints handling procedure, and you've accessed their service during the trader's endorsement as a Which? Trusted trader. Please check if a trader is endorsed with the Which? Trusted Traders scheme here: www.whichtraders.co.uk or call 0117 456 6031. Please note that you cannot start an investigation until you and the trader have had a proper chance to try and resolve the issues yourselves. This means that you must have exhausted the trader's complaints handling procedure and you do not accept the resolution the trader offers, or you have not received a proposed resolution from the trader within 28 days.
When to complain
If you are unable to agree a satisfactory resolution with the trader and are in a position of deadlock, or 28 days have elapsed since the date you raised your complaint with them (whichever is the sooner).
How to complain
Contact the trader in writing via letter (recommend recorded delivery) or email, making clear the following:
- What you believe the trader has not done as per the contract/quote
- What you would like them to do to resolve the issue
Telling us about your complaint
If you would prefer to choose a friend or relative to handle your complaint for you, we are happy to make the appropriate arrangements.
What we can deal with
Dispute Resolution Ombudsman can deal with complaints where:
- The trader is an endorsed Which? Trusted trader at the time the service was delivered
What we cannot deal with
Dispute Resolution Ombudsman cannot accept a complaint if:
- Your complaint is not about a Which? Trusted trader.
- Your complaint is against a trader who has entered administration, liquidation or who has ceased trading.
- You are neither a party to the contract with the trader nor acting on behalf of a party to the contract with the trader.
- Your complaint is not made as a private individual.
- Your complaint is being, or has been, dealt with by a Court or another tribunal/Ombudsman scheme.
- You refer your complaint to the Ombudsman more than 12 months after you receive the retailer 's final offer of settlement or answer.
What can you expect from us?
Your claim will be assessed on an impartial basis and the service is at no cost to you. Your claim will be investigated by one of our team members who collectively hold legal and professional qualifications in Alternative Dispute Resolution and have between them amassed several years of experience in law and resolving complex consumer disputes. Independence and impartiality are at the heart of the scheme and the values to which then Ombudsman adheres are of utmost importance to every one of their staff. Please note: Dispute Resolution Ombudsman reserve the right to share details of your complaint with Which? Trusted Traders for the benefit of the scheme.
Where can I get an application form?
You should only submit an application with us after you have spoken both to the trader and Which? Trusted Traders you will need a reference number from Which? Trusted Traders in order to submit your complaint.
Once you have the reference number you can raise a dispute with us on the following page of our website , alternatively, you can download and print a form, or call us on 0333 2413209 and the Ombudsman will post or e-mail one out to you. If you decide to submit a complaint by post, please mail it to: Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Premier House, First Floor, 1‑5 Argyle Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. SG1 2AD. Alternatively, you can e-mail us your application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Dispute Resolution Ombudsman is not a regulator and we cannot penalise endorsed traders except when they breach the scheme's Code of Practice or Which? Trusted Traders' Code of Conduct. The awards will be proportionate and will take into account all of the facts in the complaint. If the Ombudsman decides to make an award, and you accept it, it is expected that the trader takes the action required within 28 days. If a financial award is needed, this will be an amount that it is considered to be fair by the Ombudsman, and appropriate to the individual complaint. We can award up to £10,000 (this does not include the purchase price of the goods/services that were bought).
Does the trader have to do what the Ombudsman says?
Yes. If the Ombudsman makes an award in the consumer's favour, it is binding on the trader. If the award is accepted by the consumer, it becomes a full and final settlement. You are therefore prevented from making any further claims for compensation against the trader in relation to this complaint. You can read the Ombudsman's full consumer guide for consumers of Which? Trusted traders here.