Guidance last updated July 2019
We sometimes see disputes where a participating company believes it has acted appropriately when responding to a customer’s complaint and that no further action is therefore required on its part.
Our general rule is that case disputes of this nature will be rejected and the complaint will remain inside our terms of reference (ITOR).
At case acceptance stage we are simply considering what the complaint is about as opposed to assessing the merits of the complaint or whether we agree with the points put forward by either party.
While we may have no reason to doubt a company’s assessment of the circumstances, a consumer has a right to an independent review of their complaint.
We will only be in a position to decide what a company could reasonably have been expected to do after consideration of all the evidence and arguments through our investigation process.
A company following its own policy and procedure does not preclude a complaint from investigation. We have to consider whether a company has followed its policy correctly and whether the policy falls in line with industry rules.
Furthermore, we would reject a case acceptance dispute if it focuses solely on the type of remedy requested by the customer.
Again, the investigation will determine a suitable remedy. While we may determine the remedy requested is not possible, there may be alternatives to recommend.
In addition, a complaint may have multiple issues – some of which may be clearly outside our terms of refence (OTOR).
However, if there is a single issue within the complaint which is ITOR, we would proceed with the case. Our investigation will make it clear to the complainant which issues are eligible for review and which are not.
Assuming the subject matter of the complaint is within our jurisdiction and the relevant timescales have been met, we would decline a case acceptance dispute if it is purely made on the basis that the company:
Believes it has already taken appropriate corrective action and that no further remedy or award is indicated;
Believes it has followed industry and internal policy and procedure appropriately;
Believes that the remedy requested by the consumer is unachievable; or
Considers an element of the complaint is OTOR when there are other issues of complaint which are ITOR.