New Consumer Ombudsman service launches
A new Consumer Ombudsmen has been launched, as a mid way point between complaining to a retailer and issuing a Small Claims in the County Courts.
The aim is to provide an independent, impartial and cost effective means of resolving disputes outside the courts through independent dispute resolution.
You need to be aware of this as potentially unhappy customers could use the process in the future, although advice for those who are unhappy with a product or service is still to tell the company that provided it and explain what you would like as a resolution first.
The Consumer Ombudsman says “The company must have a reasonable opportunity to resolve your complaint. It is better for you and the company if the dispute can be resolved quickly and without our intervention“.
If you and your buyer can’t reach an amicable settlement then the Ombudsman advises “If the company is willing to work with us to resolve your complaint we will aim to reach a resolution within 10 working days. We will keep you informed of our progress. If a company is unwilling to work with us – or we cannot reach a resolution that you are both satisfied with – we will give advice about your options. This may be contacting an organisation like Citizens Advice or Trading Standards, or taking your complaint to a small claims court“.
Most of the time it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs if a professional online retailer can’t resolve customer complaints without it going to court or in the future to the Ombudsmen. However you might be happy to know that in the future if you do get that totally unreasonable customer who demands way more than a refund, there’s an Ombudsman who might actually take your side and tell the customer that their demands are ridiculous and they should accept your offer of resolution.