Gerald Jones MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney recently attended a parliamentary event hosted by Ombudsman Services, one of the leading providers of redress in the UK, to learn more about local consumer trends in the energy and communications sectors.
Designed to provide support for MPs helping residents in their local areas with consumer issues, the Ombudsman Services team were on hand to offer a tailored overview of specific energy and communications issues affecting those in each area.
Last year, in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney residents made 70 complaints about energy and communications issues, from billing issues to switching suppliers. In total, consumers were handed back £4,448 - the equivalent of £63 per case - as Ombudsman Services corrected the injustices they had experienced.
As well as hearing more about current consumer issues in his constituency, Ombudsman Services invited Gerald Jones to show they take consumer rights seriously, by pledging to 'stand up for consumer rights', along with 29 other MPs from across the UK.
The event forms part of a larger drive by Ombudsman Services to develop a more systematic and proactive approach to consumer redress, with a view to tackling issues at source, and enhancing consumer experiences for everyone.
Gerald Jones MP is able to help residents with complaints, as well as many other issues, at his weekly surgeries. For ongoing energy and consumer complaints, residents should get in touch with Ombudsman Services by visiting www.ombudsman-services.org.
Alternatively, for complaints about public service providers, an independent care provider, or to report the breach of a Local Authority’s code of conduct by its Members, residents should contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Gerald Jones MP said: “I speak to a lot of people in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney about consumer rights and complaints, and often they don't know how to take a complaint further, so I’m keen to raise awareness of how people can tackle bad service.
"Today was a good opportunity to discuss the barriers and issues for customers when it comes to complaining, and to learn more about the redress sector. If anyone has an issue that can’t be resolved with the company, I would encourage them to come to one of my clinics, or approach the relevant Ombudsman.’’
Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: “Knowing your consumer rights and the options available to you if you receive poor service is very important. We want to see a more proactive approach to consumer redress in the UK, so it’s great to see MP’s like Gerald Jones showing commitment to helping constituents, showing that this is not an issue to be taken lightly.
"Complaining should be an easy, hassle-free experience – if you’re still in a dispute with an energy or communications company after eight weeks, Ombudsman Services can look into the case for free and provide a resolution – it could be worth your while.”
What to do if you have a problem?
Anyone who experienced bad service has the right to complain, but it can be daunting. To make things easier, Ombudsman Services has pulled together some top tips:
- Firstly identify what you want to achieve, have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve from complaining
- Don’t get emotional – keep your anger in check and don’t get mad. Be assertive without being aggressive
- Don’t be embarrassed – it’s your right to complain if you’re not satisfied
- Admit your part in the problem if you have any fault
- Address one complaint at a time, ensure what you say is clear and fair
- Keep records of all correspondence, paperwork, bills and receipts, if asked to send them anywhere make sure you send photocopies and keep originals
- If you’re not getting results complaining directly to the company, identify the person or organisation who has the power to make changes and help
- If your complaint has not been resolved quickly (normally within eight weeks), you can take your complaint to an organisation like Ombudsman Services https://www.ombudsman-services.org/
Ombudsman Services provides an independent and impartial means of resolving disputes outside the courts at no cost to the consumer. It can investigate disputes between customers and suppliers that have been ongoing for eight weeks or more, or those that have reached a deadlock stage. Consumers must contact their supplier directly in the first instance before they can escalate the complaint to the ombudsman.