Have you ever used an ombudsman?

in Consumer Rights
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MSE_WillMSE_Will MSE Staff
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MSE Staff
We're researching ombudsmen in order to produce a report for a Parliamentary group looking at consumer protection.

If you've used an ombudsman (in any sector) we want to hear about your experience. Did it solve a nightmare or cause more trouble than it was worth?

Take our 2 min survey to tell us and help us research ways ombudsmen can improve.

http://!!!!!!/2nEaLI9

Thanks for taking part! :T

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  • holdonholdon Forumite
    47 Posts
    Hi, if you need to know anything about the Ombudsman Service Communications(OSC) I can give you the full story including the report from the Independent Assessor.
    The OSC use maladministration to support the instructing company if that the only way to avoid the issues complained about.
    Anything you want to know just ask, my complaint has been through the OSC, the Independent Assessor and the PHSO, currently with the Minister for final decision, a nightmare!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    holdon wrote: »
    Hi, if you need to know anything about the Ombudsman Service Communications(OSC) I can give you the full story including the report from the Independent Assessor.
    The OSC use maladministration to support the instructing company if that the only way to avoid the issues complained about.
    Anything you want to know just ask, my complaint has been through the OSC, the Independent Assessor and the PHSO, currently with the Minister for final decision, a nightmare!

    How did you get on with PHSO?
  • King_WeaselKing_Weasel Forumite
    4.4K Posts
    I tried to answer the questions but was unable to add any amplification as requested at the foot of the answer, so as a result my input is incomplete and fairly useless.
    However hard up you are, never accept loans from your friends. Just gifts
  • This is an interesting post "We're researching ombudsmen in order to produce a report for a Parliamentary group looking at consumer protection".

    An Ombudsman or an Alternative Dispute Resolution service is not set up to protect consumers. It is an alternative to a court whereby the consumer can have their complaint looked at no cost to them.

    The complaint will be looked an independently and impartially. Just because a customer complains does not mean their complaint is justified. There is a massive cloud and misunderstanding in this area. The energy ombudsman probably deals with thousands upon thousands of complaints each year but only has 60 odd negative reviews online.

    You will only hear comments from the moaners but not those that have had a good service or an outcome they wanted. 60 odd negative reviews is pretty impressive.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    The complaint will be looked an independently and impartially.

    if you think that the PHSO is impartial, or in any way fair, perhaps you should read what Parliament had to say about the PHSO at the time they created it:

    “The Bill was always drafted to be a swiz, and now it is spelt into the Bill…………Anyone who contemplates an office of this kind is faced with the dilemma of making it either a Frankenstein or a nonentity—a Frankenstein if it has effective powers and a nonentity if it has not. The Government, quite rightly, has opted for its being a nonentity, and in that sense it is a fraud……… I congratulate the Government on its being a nonentity. A Frankenstein would, I think, have undermined the power of Ministers......”

    Hansard, 24th January 1967

    18 months ago Scotland Yard started investigating the PHSO on 30 counts of Misconduct in Public Office for failing to investigate complaints properly. They had to abandon the investigation because the legislation bars the police from accessing the relevant PHSO files.
  • jack_pott wrote: »
    if you think that the PHSO is impartial, or in any way fair, perhaps you should read what Parliament had to say about the PHSO at the time they created it:

    “The Bill was always drafted to be a swiz, and now it is spelt into the Bill…………Anyone who contemplates an office of this kind is faced with the dilemma of making it either a Frankenstein or a nonentity—a Frankenstein if it has effective powers and a nonentity if it has not. The Government, quite rightly, has opted for its being a nonentity, and in that sense it is a fraud……… I congratulate the Government on its being a nonentity. A Frankenstein would, I think, have undermined the power of Ministers......”

    Hansard, 24th January 1967

    18 months ago Scotland Yard started investigating the PHSO on 30 counts of Misconduct in Public Office for failing to investigate complaints properly. They had to abandon the investigation because the legislation bars the police from accessing the relevant PHSO files.

    Did my post make reference to the PHSO? As mentioned before, just because someone complains does't mean the complaint is justified. You will only hear the moaners complain.
  • edited 9 April 2017 at 2:19PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    edited 9 April 2017 at 2:19PM
    There are numerous issues with ombudsman services. This article discusses a number of them and links to a further report with a lot more detail.

    http://www.thecomplainingcow.co.uk/ongoing-ombudsman-omnishambles/

    Confusion and a lack of oversight in the whole process need to be addressed before individuals' experiences can begin to be sorted out.
  • holdonholdon Forumite
    47 Posts
    Using ombudsman's service is like having an air bag, you know it is there but hope you never need it. What you don't expect is that the air bag fails.


    In my case the OSC resorted to the use of false assertions which invalidated the entire process which took a year, the Independent Assessor was then asked to review my complaint and he found in my favour in regard to the maladministration that the OSC were guilty of but was unable to comment on the use of false assertions because of the restricted remit.


    I was then left with the option of referring to the PHSO as I have no intention of allowing maladministration of ombudsmen to be my only redress. It is well known that Ofcom do not accept complaints from individual consumers, notwithstanding the fact that they are the regulator in this instance, not only are they the regulator for the industry complained about they are also the Competent Authority(CA) for the OSC and as such their activities are specified under the ADR Legislation, regulated by the PHSO on behalf of the Secretary of State. The ADR legislation requires the CA to report every 2 years as to the adequacy or otherwise of the OSC in this case.


    I now need to refer to the obligations of Ofcom under the ADR legislation to review the ADR administrators performance, the last review by Ofcom was 2012 therefore the next review was due two years later and at two yearly intervals thereafter, sadly this failed to happen and no review of the OSC has been conducted for 5 years. When a consumer complains to Ofcom they are informed that although Ofcom do not take individual complaints they will record details of the complaint and take this into account when the 'service' is next reviewed, in this instant not at all!.


    I am now obliged to deal with the PHSO who have proved to be less than helpful and have chosen to attempt to support the decision of Ofcom to refer only to the Communications Act and ignore the ADR Legislation and the obligation that are implied by the ADR scheme, the PHSO have been informed that they are using the wrong Legislation and have now at least obtained legal advice from their team but continue to fail to impose penalties suggested by the ADR rules, the complaint has now been referred to the Minister for the final word.


    Words of caution to any complainant who uses the Ombudsman schemes to obtain redress following a justifiable complaint need to be do not allow the appointed Ombudsman to use false assertions to support the company complained about. It is essential that every complaint is supported by evidence as this will make the use of false assertions more difficult and thus refutable, it is time that regulators actually did start to regulate and issue meaningful penalties on offending 'traders' actually need to take seriously and improve services. A complainant does not want to reply on punitive awards for maladministration but needs to rely on the service standards implied by the ADR legislation and actually get a service that is 'independent, impartial and a reliable method of obtaining justice'.
  • DoaMDoaM Forumite
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    You went TLA-happy in that post. How about spelling out what the acronyms actually mean?

    OSC?
    PHSO?
  • holdonholdon Forumite
    47 Posts
    Please refer to the first posting I made rather than just look at the last.
    OSC= Ombudsman Service Communications
    PHSO= Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
This discussion has been closed.
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