Our Complaints Procedure

Complaints Handling Policy

We are committed to providing a quality, professional service with your best interests in mind. In the unlikely event that you feel the need to complain, this should be directed to ‘The Complaint Officer’ at The Debt Advisor Ltd (Company Number 6248441), and can be done via telephone on free phone 0800 085 1825, or email customerservice@thedebtadvisor.co.uk or in writing to our registered office at West Point, 501 Chester Rd, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9HU. Your complaint will be acknowledged within 5 working days and, following a full investigation, a response will be given within 28 days.

Should this not resolve your complaint to your satisfaction you can refer your complaint in writing to Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London E14 9SR or email; complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk or telephone 0800 023 4567. 

Alternatively, you are able to direct your complaint to The Insolvency Gateway (for formal insolvency solutions) or the Debt Resolution Forum who regulate our advisory and debt management activities. A copy of our Complaints Procedure can be requested at any time and is also available on our website; www.thedebtadvisor.co.uk.

If your complaint is specifically regarding an IVA, you may choose to contact the IPA in the first instance. 

STAGE ONE – YOUR COMPLAINT

What is a complaint?
If you are dissatisfied with ANY aspect of the service we provide, for whatever reason, this is a complaint and will be dealt with under this procedure.

How can a complaint be made?
You can make a complaint by telephone on 0333 9999 600, by letter addressed to our Complaints Manager at WestPoint, 3rd Floor West, 501 Chester Road, Old Trafford, Manchester M16 9HU, by fax to 0333 9999 655 or by email to complaints@thedebtadvisor.co.uk.

Who does the complaint need to be addressed to? 
Your complaint should be directed to our Complaint Officer and will always be investigated by someone independent of the original problem.

What information should I include with my complaint? 
Please ensure you make it clear: 
• That you are making a complaint; 
• The reason you are complaining; 
• If appropriate, the person you are complaining about and what it is you consider they did wrong;
• How you have been affected; 
• Any suggestions you have as to how the issue could be resolved. 
Your complaint will still be fully considered even if all of the above information is not included.

STAGE TWO – OUR FIRST RESPONSE

What response should I expect to receive from my complaint?

Within five days of receipt of your complaint, we will send to you:
• A written acknowledgement confirming who will be dealing with your complaint and how you can contact that person. 
• An indication of how long it will take to resolve your complaint. 
• A copy of our complaints procedure.

If we need more information we will request it from you. Even if you do not provide the information, we will still continue with this complaints procedure. In that case we will only be able to resolve the complaint acting on the information available.

When can I expect a reply?

We will aim to complete our investigation within four weeks from receipt of your complaint. If we are unable to do so we will contact you in writing after four weeks to advise you that our investigations are continuing, why we have not yet resolved the problem and when you can expect us to make further contact.

If the process is going to take more than eight weeks, we will again contact you in writing to advise:
• we need more time and why 
• An estimate of how long we think it will take us to resolve your complaint. 
• If you are not happy with the delay what steps you can take to pursue the complaint further.

STAGE THREE – OUR DECISION

Once our investigation is complete, we will write to you with our findings. This response will set out: 
• Our findings 
• If your complaint is upheld, how we intend to rectify the situation 
• If your complaint is not upheld, our reasons for coming to this decision 
• Your rights of appeal against our decision 
• Details of what steps you can take to pursue the complaint (including your rights to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service, DRF or the IPA – if this applies to your case).

What do I need to do next? 
If you accept our findings you will need to confirm in writing. A form will be supplied for this. If you do not write to us within 8 weeks of receipt of our response, we will assume you are satisfied with the outcome of the complaint and will not write to you again. Any offer of redress or other proposals we made will be automatically withdrawn. 
If you do not accept our response and wish to take the matter further, you can appeal against our decision. You simply need to contact The Complaints Officer in writing and advise us that you wish to appeal against the outcome of the complaint, and why you remain dissatisfied. The case will then go on to the appeals stage.

STAGE FOUR – APPEAL

You have eight weeks from receiving our response in which to appeal. Your case will then be re-considered and we will review the decision made. You will receive another letter, called a ‘Final Response’ within eight weeks of your original complaint. The final response will be a letter advising you: 
• That we have finished reviewing your appeal
• The outcome of the review 
• If your complaint is upheld, how we intend to rectify the situation 
• If your complaint is not upheld, our reasons for coming to this decision 
• That if you remain unhappy with our final response, what steps you can take to pursue the complaint (including your rights to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service, or trade bodies such as DRF or the IPA).

What do I need to do if I am still dissatisfied after the appeal?

Everyone we deal with is covered by this complaints procedure. The formal notice after appeal stage will be the end of our formal complaints procedure unless your complaint is forwarded to the Financial Ombudsman Service, DRF or the IPA.

If you are dissatisfied with our response in relation to an advisory or debt management matter you can send your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) who will assess this dispute. FOS's decisions are based on what is 'fair and reasonable'.  In deciding what is ‘fair and reasonable’, the ombudsman will take into account the relevant law, regulations, regulators' rules and guidance and standards, relevant codes of practice and, where appropriate, what he considers to have been good industry practice at the relevant time.  The ombudsman’s decisions are binding upon our company, if you accept their decision. Once a complaint is made to FOS it is generally dealt with in up to three stages:

Conciliation: FOS staff will see if there is any reasonable prospect of resolving the dispute by reaching a settlement acceptable to both sides.  The majority of complaints are in fact resolved in this way.

Otherwise, FOS staff will investigate the complaint.  They have the power to require information from the complainant and the firm.  They then issue an adjudication setting out a recommended outcome and the reasons for it.  If both the complainant and the firm accept the adjudication the complaint is resolved.

If either party does not accept the adjudication, one of the ombudsmen will review the case and issue a final decision.  If the complainant accepts the decision it will be binding on both parties.

FOS may make a money award against a firm for such an amount that the ombudsman considers fair compensation for financial loss and/or for pain and suffering or damage to reputation or distress or inconvenience.  The maximum binding money award, which the ombudsman may make, is £150,000.  If the ombudsman considers that an amount more than the maximum is required as fair compensation, then the ombudsman may recommend to the firm that it pays the balance.

Additionally, or alternatively, the ombudsman may also direct a firm to take such steps in relation to the complainant, as the ombudsman considers just and appropriate.

Please note you have six months in which this matter can be raised with the Financial Ombudsman. 

If you are dissatisfied with our response in relation to an advisory or debt management matter and you believe we have breached the codes of DRF, you can lodge your complaint with this trade body.

Where we are dealing with you in relation to a formal insolvency, rather than in an advisory capacity and you do not consider that your complaint has been dealt with:

  • adequately within the timescales laid down by our internal policy; and/or
  • addresses your concerns to your reasonable satisfaction

you should address your concerns to the Insolvency Complaints Gateway (“ICG”).

The ICG are a government department that will investigate the basis of your complaint and what we have done as a company to address your concerns to your satisfaction. The ICG can be contacted as follows:

Telephone:

0845 602 9848

Mail:

IP Complaints, Insolvency Service, 3rd Floor, 1 City Walk, Leeds, LS11 9DA

Web

http://www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/contact-us/IP-Complaints-Gateway

The full complaints procedures for The Financial Ombudsman Service, DRF and the IPA can be found in the following links:

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumer/complaints.htm

http://www.debtresolutionforum.org.uk/complaints-procedure.php

All debt solutions should be very carefully considered. Fees will be charged if a solution is taken in order for us to advise and administer the most appropriate action - all fees will be outlined during your consultation. Retained payment may place you further into arrears. You have the right to a cooling off period of 14 days. It is likely that your ability to obtain further credit in the short term will be affected and this may also be the case over the medium to long term.
Calls to our free phone number from mobile phones and other networks may be charged.

The Business Debt Advisor is a trading style of The Debt Advisor Ltd.

The Debt Advisor is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority Reg No : 606669