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information for businesses covered by the ombudsman service

This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:

how we handle cases

third party complaint-handlers

why do you accept complaints from third party complaint-handlers on behalf of consumers?

Everyone has the right to appoint someone else to act on their behalf. Some consumers might ask their local citizens advice bureau, or a friend, carer or relative, to help them with their complaint.

Other consumers may choose to pay a professional - such as a lawyer, accountant or independent financial adviser - to complain for them. We tell consumers up-front that if they employ a professional to present their case for them, they will almost certainly have to pay the costs themselves - even if we uphold their complaint.

More consumers are now using the services of claims-management companies (sometimes called "no win, no fee" agencies). Our experience shows no difference in the outcome of complaints - whether consumers bring them to us themselves, or use a claims-management company to complain on their behalf. In other words, we are no more or less likely to uphold a complaint referred to us through a claims-management company.

In 2007 the government established a regulator for claims-management companies as part of the Ministry of Justice.

We provided an update in our 2010/2011 annual review on the cases referred to us by claims-management companies.