Who is an ombudsman?
An ombudsman is the one who looks into the complaints of organizations in an impartial and a very objective manner. They are independent and stand completely separate from the proceedings of the matter. They also don’t charge the one who is complaining and are not on anyone’s side, be it the complainant’s side or the organization’s, on whom the complaint has been made. They are completely neutral and need to stay the same way till the dispute gets resolved.
If you have a complaint but would like to solve it without going to the court, then you can very well approach an ombudsman, who will solve your case in an impartial manner.
What should one do if they would like to resolve their problem with the organization?
If you are planning on not going to the court and finding a resolution else way, then you can approach an ombudsman, who would take up the case and find a way to resolve it in an objective and impartial manner. But before you visit an ombudsman, make sure you prepare a letter of deadlock, which needs to be received from the organization, with whom you have a dispute.
Online Complaint Form: https://www.ombudsman.ie/en/Make-a-Complaint/Complaint-online-form/
To do that, you first need to request a letter of deadlock from the organization, with whom you have dispute
- Your full address
- Your company’s address
- The nature of your complaint and the assigned reference number
- The body of the letter needs to consist of the reason as in why you need a letter of deadlock, along with that you also need to give them a deadline of 14 days and ask them to revert to you within that with a letter to deadlock to proceed the procedure with the ombudsman. If not, then you can directly contact the ombudsman without referring it to the organization, with whom you have a dispute.
Here are a few situations when one can complain to the ombudsman
- When the organization’s staff have been rude or disrespectful to the concerned individual, then one can go ahead and complain, first to the organization and then to the ombudsman.
- When the organization fails to follow their rules and protocols.
- The concerned individual’s treatment has been unfair and prejudiced.
- When the concerned individual has been wrong or false information deliberately.
- When the concerned individual has been made to wait deliberately.
- When there’s no action being taken for the concerned individual’s request.
After you are done complaining to the ombudsman, it is entirely up to them to either take the case or not to.
The ombudsman would take up the case in the following scenarios
- If the concerned individual had to face personal or professional loss due to the organization.
- If the concerned individual had already spoken to the organization about the discomfort caused and had tried to resolve it but weren’t able to. Then the ombudsman would take up the case, as the individual had given a fair chance to the organization to fix the problem at hand.
An ombudsman never sees the dispute from one person’s point of view and always manages to look at it in an objective manner, so that they could arrive at a fair decision. The ombudsman investigates the matter thoroughly, asks questions to get a better clarity and finally comes up with a solution that they think is fair.
Are their different types of ombudsman services?
Yes, there are different types of ombudsman services, and one can go to the one that suits their requirements.
The different types of ombudsman services are
- Consumer: Ombudsman Services
- Communications: Ombudsman Services
- Energy: Ombudsman Services
- Motor Ombudsman
- Financial Ombudsman Service
- Pension Ombudsman Service
- Housing Ombudsman Service
Consumer: Ombudsman Service:
If you have complaints pertaining to the goods or services that you bought anywhere in the United Kingdom, specifically on or after the 1st of January 2015, then you can contact the Consumer: Ombudsman Service, who would look into the case and come up with a fair solution.
Communications: Ombudsman Services
If you an unresolved issue with your telephone provider, then you can approach the Communications: Ombudsman Services, who would look into the matter. But before you do that, make sure you give the concerned telephone provider a chance to resolve the issue, without even approaching the ombudsman.
Energy: Ombudsman Services
You can approach the Energy: Ombudsman Services if you have unresolved issues with an electric company. But before you do that, make sure you contact the concerned organization and try to resolve the issue, without even approaching the ombudsman.
If you have a complaint against a code-accredited organization, then you can contact the motor ombudsman, who will look into the case for you. But make sure you contact the concerned organization well in advance and give them an opportunity to resolve the matter.
After you are done submitting the necessary documents, the ombudsman will now consider and cross-check the information that they have with them.
- They would first review the information present in hand and try to get a response from the organization, on whom the complaint has been made. The response would be to identify whether the individual gave the organization an opportunity to resolve the issue or not and whether the documents are original or not.
- Cross check the already present information and make sure that it is fact-checked and completely original.
- After the investigation is done, the ombudsman will now inform the individual and the organization, what they think about the case.
The complaint although won’t be considered by the motor ombudsman, if it has anything to do with physical injury or criminal offense.
Financial Ombudsman Service
If your problems or unresolved issues with financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and others, then you can contact the financial ombudsman service, who would look into the matter for you. As for any other service, you would have to first talk to the organization, on whom you have made the complaint and try to resolve the issue without coming to the ombudsman. If the problems aren’t fixed, then you can request a letter of deadlock, from the organization on whom you have made the complaint and then forward that letter to the financial ombudsman service. The concerned organization needs to respond to the request in a given period, and if they fail to do so, then the individual can go ahead and directly pass on the complaint to the financial ombudsman service. The financial ombudsman service would then take up the case and start their investigation.
Before you forward your complaint to the financial ombudsman service, makes sure you have the following documents with you
- Bank statements
- Other financial statements
- Transaction statements
- Agreement or bond letters signed between the organization and the individual.
Pension Ombudsman Service
If you have a problem with the way your pension scheme has been run by the concerned organization, then you can go ahead and complain to the pension ombudsman service, who would look into the case.
You can also complain issues pertaining to the Pension Protection Scheme and also with the Financial Assistance Scheme.
Here are a few situations, where one can complain to the pension ombudsman service
- If the pension process is taking too long and the reason hasn’t been intimated to the concerned individual.
- If the pension scheme doesn’t cover the facilities that were initially promised.
- If the organization runs the pension scheme haphazardly.
- If the organization provides false and untrue information deliberately.
- If the organization breaks a promise.
Every complaint made to the pension ombudsman service would be dealt with complete objectivity and impartiality, keeping in mind the points of both the parties equally.
Housing Ombudsman Service
If you have unresolved issues with your landlord, then you can go ahead and complain to the housing ombudsman service. (If you have issues with landlord property tax, then you should contact an expert accountant)
But before you do that you need to follow the following steps and procedures.
- Contact the landlord: The first and foremost step would to contact your landlord and discuss the issue with them. Both the parties, need to try resolving the issue by themselves. A formal complaint needs to be forwarded to the landlord first and then to anyone else. The formal complaint can be drafted by following the complaint procedure that is in turn drafted by the landlords themselves, which are fair and easy to use.
- Contact the designated person: If you are unable to resolve the issue with your landlord, then you can go ahead and contact the designated person. The designated person might be a local councilor or a tenant panel, who will try to resolve the issue between the landlord and the tenant. If the issue is still not resolved, then one would have to contact the housing ombudsman service.
- Contact the housing ombudsman service: If the issue isn’t being able to get resolved by the designated person, then the designated person can refer that case to an ombudsman, would further look into the case to come up with a solution. The housing ombudsman service would look into both the sides of the case and come up with a fair, objective solution that’s not one-sided or prejudiced.
As a tenant, one needs to make sure that they provide original documents and evidence to the housing ombudsman service.
The following are the documents that are mandatory to be submitted to the housing ombudsman service
- The payment slip which consists of the amount of money paid to the landlord by the tenant
- The agreement document signed duly by both the tenant and the landlord
- Photo evidence that proves that the tenant lived on the landlord’s property
List of information that needs to be furnished while making a complaint to the ombudsman
Here’s a list of information that needs to be furnished while making a complaint to the ombudsman
- The complete name and address of the person who is making the complaint.
- The complete name and address of the organization, on which the complaint is being made.
- The complete details of why you are making the complaint and what made your complaint against the company.
- What are the things that you want the organization to change?
- The personal and professional loss that you had to incur due to the organization’s lack of action.
- Complete details of the attempts that you have taken to resolve the issue.
- Duly attested copies of documents such as letters, invoices, and receipts that are relevant to the case.
While you attach the above-mentioned documents, make sure you provide the right information that’s original and not tampered in any way.
What are the different types of public ombudsman schemes?
The different types of public ombudsman schemes are
- NHS Ombudsman: Complaints related to NHS are taken up by the NHS Ombudsman.
- European Ombudsman: Takes up complaints pertaining to the European Union organizations.
- Local Government Ombudsman: Takes up complaints pertaining to local councils.
What is the next step in making the complaint to the ombudsman?
The ombudsman will now start looking into the case in detail and find evidence for both the sides. The investigation would not be one-sided, and the ombudsman would make sure that it is objective and highly impartial.
After the thorough investigation of the case by the ombudsman, they will now propose a remedy or solution to the organization.
The remedy could be
- An apology letter by the concerned organization
- The concerned organization would be duly asked to change its practices.
- The ombudsman would ask the organization to pay the individual a certain amount of money as compensation, for the loss they had to incur.
If you still feel that the ombudsman’s decision regarding your case was unfair, then you can go to the court and present your case there. The court’s judge would now take the final call, and that decision would again be completely independent, objective and highly impartial, which would also serve as the final decision regarding the case.