Consumer Ombudsman to Change Complaints Process
03 September 2015
Ombudsman Services is launching a new service that will accept all consumer complaints.
The newly created consumer ombudsman will be able to receive complaints relating to the conduct of sectors that do not have a current ombudsman, for example, retail, home maintenance, improvement or installation services, second-hand cars, car repairs and car servicing.
Consumers are able to register complaints with the consumer ombudsman regarding goods and services bought after 1 January 2015, once all internal complaints processes have been attempted.
Consumer Ombudsman Complaints Process
The consumer ombudsman outlines a 5 step process for consumers that would like lodge a complaint:
- The consumer should first ensure that the company they are unhappy with is aware of the exact nature of their complaint.
- All contact with the company from the first complaint should be gathered as potential evidence for the ombudsman.
- The company in question should be given a “reasonable opportunity” to resolve the original complaint.
- The consumer should contact the consumer ombudsman who will then contact the company in question.
- The resolution will either be resolved through the agreement of both parties or settled in a small claims court.
The company that is having the complaint lodged against them can choose whether or not they are willing to work with the ombudsman to reach a resolution.
John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
"As of Thursday 1 October 2015 companies will be required by law to make consumers aware of a relevant alternative dispute resolution scheme e.g. the new consumer ombudsman.
"While this is a potential headache for small firms, we’re glad that the usage is not compulsory which would have added even more burdensome red tape."