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The Complaints Process

The Society is a Member of the Financial Ombudsman Service (www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk).  Although the Society is committed to providing you with a first class service we recognise that there may be an occasion that you feel that we may not have done this and you wish to make a complaint. We will always try to resolve any complaint speedily and at the earliest possible stage. The person dealing with your complaint will be authorised by the Society to settle your complaint and will explain to you in plain language the Society’s position.

We will try to ensure that we resolve all our complaints by the close of business on the business day following receipt of the complaint by you.  If the complaint is resolved by the close of the third business day, we will issue a Summary Resolution Communication.

If this is not possible then we will ensure that we send you an acknowledgement within 5 days of your complaint being received. This will set out the name of the person dealing with the complaint. Included with that letter will be a copy of our complaints leaflet which sets out our Internal Complaints Procedure.

We will keep you informed of the progress of action being taken to resolve your complaint.  In most cases you will receive a response within 4 weeks of us initially receiving your complaint. However, in the unlikely event that we are unable to provide a response within 4 weeks, we will write to you with an update, explaining the reasons for the delay, along with details of when you can expect to receive our response.

By the end of eight weeks after receipt of your complaint we will send you our Final Response. If we have not been able to provide our Final Response in this time we will tell you our reasons for the further delay and indicate to you when we are able to do this. At this stage you can refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are either dissatisfied with our Final Response or with the further delay. Details of the Financial Ombudsman Service will be sent to you at this stage. If we have not been able to resolve the complaint we will ask you at this stage if you would be happy to extend the period by which we can resolve the complaint before you decide to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

When you receive the Final Response from us and if you are not satisfied then you should ensure that you refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service within 6 months from the date when the Final Response is sent to you by us.

If you do not refer your complaint in time, the Ombudsman will not have our permission to consider your complaint and so will only be able to do so in very limited circumstances.  For example, if the Ombudsman believes that the delay was as a result of exceptional circumstances.

It is our aim to ensure that all complaints are dealt with speedily and at the earliest stage.

Online Customers – Online Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a way for customers to have complaints settled by an independent third party without going to court.  It can take place in various ways, including face-to-face, by telephone, in writing or online.  Customers that buy products or services online are able to use the Online Dispute Resolution platform created by the EU commission.  This allows consumers to submit their complaint through a central site which will forward the complaint to the right ADR provider.  For the Society ADR is provided by the Financial Ombudsman Scheme (www.financial-ombudsman.org). If you are unhappy with the way we have resolved your complaint you can contact them directly or use the ODR platform at ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr.

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