1. About this policy

Every year Citizens Advice Cheshire West helps thousands of people with their problems. However, every so often someone goes away feeling unhappy. Perhaps you had to wait for ages, only to find out that there is very little we can do for you. Perhaps you felt that you were not treated with respect or courtesy. Perhaps our advice didn’t help or was wrong.

Unfortunately, these things happen. We know we are not perfect, although we aim to be. That is why we have a complaints procedure. Sometimes we can put things right; sometimes we can only explain ourselves and apologise. But we do want to learn from our mistakes. What you tell us helps us to look at how we do things and helps to improve our service.

This procedure is solely for complaints about the service you have received from Citizens Advice Cheshire West.

2. Negligence


If you believe that the advice Citizens Advice Cheshire West have you cost you money, then you should seek independent advice from elsewhere - a high street solicitor perhaps or a law centre. In those circumstances we would not deal with the
complaint at the same time as we are dealing with legal action.

3. How to complain

Informal

Misunderstandings can often be sorted out on an informal basis. Please ask to speak to Paul Nicholls, Chief Executive or Jason Bishop, Assistant Chief Executive, as they may be able to sort out the problem straightaway. Alternatively, if you feel the problem needs to be looked at and put on an official footing, you can follow our formal complaints procedure.

Formal

There are several ways to make a complaint directly to Citizens Advice Cheshire West: by letter, telephone or email. Please address the complaint to either the Chief Executive or Chair of Trustees.

If you prefer, you can ask national Citizens Advice to refer your complaint to Citizens Advice Cheshire West. You can complain to national Citizens Advice by calling their complaints line on 03000 231 900 . Or you can email your complaint
using an online form. Citizens Advice will assess who is the best person to handle your complaint and ask them to deal with it.

Your complaint will be investigated by the Chief Executive under the direction of the Chair of Trustees, or by the Chair of you are complaining about the Chief Executive. If your complaint is upheld, you will get a full apology from the Chair of Trustees. If it’s appropriate, you’ll get details of any action that Citizens Advice Cheshire West is taking to put things right.

Citizens Advice Cheshire West aims to respond in full to your complaint within 8 weeks. However if the issues is complicated, any delay will be explained and you will be kept informed of progress.

4. Review of complaint

If you are still not happy after our response, you can request a further review. The review will be conducted under the direction of the national Citizens Advice Chief Executive. If you are still not happy you can ask for your complaint to be looked at by an Independent Adjudicator.

5. Review by an Adjudicator

Your complaint may go to a person who is entirely separate from the Citizens Advice network. This person is called the Independent Adjudicator. If you want to progress to this stage, you must do so within four weeks of receiving the Citizens Advice review.

6. Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free, independent service for clients to solve disputes with not for profit debt advice providers

The Financial Ombudsman Service will only step in once Citizens Advice Cheshire West has had the opportunity to investigate matters, so please contact us first.

If your complaint is about debt advice or if you were seeking advice about your credit record and you are not satisfied with Citizens Advice Cheshire West’s final response or if eight weeks have passed since your first let Citizens Advice Cheshire West know about your concerns, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman to review your complaint.

Contact the Financial Ombudsman

By post:
Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
London
E14 9SR

By phone:
0800 0 234 567 - free for people phoning from a ‘fixed’ line e.g landline at home
0300 123 9 123 - free for mobile phone users who pay a monthly charge for calls to
a number starting 01 and 02

By email: [email protected]

Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

7. Send your complaint

By post:

Paul Nicholls, Chief Executive or Geoff Hope-Terry, Chair of Trustees
Citizens Advice Cheshire West
Meadow Court
Meadow Street
Northwich
Cheshire
CW8 5FP

By email: [email protected]