A step-by-step guide from a consumer perspective on submitting complaints through our service
If something goes wrong, you should contact your provider straight away to give them a chance to put things right. Do this as soon as you notice the issue.
Your provider's phone number and website will be on your bill. You can make a complaint by email, in writing or on the phone.
If it's a simple complaint, you might be able to resolve it with a phone call. However, if it can’t be easily resolved, you should make sure you log a formal complaint with them, rather than just talking to them about your problem.
Your provider will have their own complaints procedure, but you should start by explaining what the problem is and what you want them to do about it. They’ll be able to advise you on the next steps.
We recommend that you write down the time and date of your calls, the names of the people you speak to and the details of what was said. You may need to refer to them if you escalate the case to us.
If it's a complex problem, then it's a good idea to send a follow-up email or letter, so that you have a record of all the communication. This means there's no room for confusion.
Your provider may ask for more information to help them understand and resolve the problem. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what they need to make sure they can process it as quickly as possible.
This video explains when you can escalate your energy or communications complaint to Ombudsman Services. For more information on submitting complaints, or to take action and submit your complaint for investigation, visit our website: www.ombudsman-services.org
Your provider has six to eight weeks - depending on which one you use - to resolve your complaint. This is to give them enough time to assess the situation and the evidence to find an appropriate resolution.
During that time, they could contact you for more information. You can also contact them to see where your complaint is up to. In fact, we’d recommend you get in touch if you haven't heard anything after four weeks, just to check your complaint has been received or is being processed.
Your provider might reach a decision on your complaint at any time prior to the eight weeks. If they do, they'll send you a 'deadlock letter'. This normally contains a final offer and our details. At this point you’ll need to decide if you think their response is reasonable and will solve your problem. If it isn’t, you can contact us.
If you’ve received a deadlock letter, or if you’ve still not resolved the issue after eight weeks, you can bring your complaint to us.
When you’re ready to start your complaint you’ll be asked to share details of your problem, evidence and some personal information, which we’ll use to assess the situation. It's important to give us as much information as possible, so we don't have to keep coming back to you.
When it comes to the evidence we’ll ask you to provide things like: Dates you first noticed the issue and complained to the company. Any copies of correspondence or details of phone calls. Such as dates, times and names of the members of staff you spoke to. Any other evidence that demonstrates the issue.
We won’t be able to process the case without this.
When we’ve processed your complaint, we’ll pass the details to your provider. We sometimes find that after we’ve presented your case, the provider will acknowledge that it’s let a customer down and will make an offer of resolution. If you are happy to accept, it can lead to an early resolution.
You will receive a notification when the provider makes an offer. You can also login to our portal to see where everything is up to at any time.
If the complaint remains unresolved we’ll carry out a full assessment of the case. We base our decisions on what is fair and reasonable, taking into account:
Assessments can take a long time, and some complex matters can take longer than average cases. You can speed up the process by making sure you give us all the details and evidence as soon as possible.
Your provider is bound to the resolution if you choose to accept it. We have a specialist team on hand that works alongside providers to get the remedy implemented.
If your supplier hasn’t complied within reasonable time and you’ve chased them on the matter, you are free to enforce the resolution in court as the decision was legally binding.