DSA CODE ADMINISTRATOR’S CONSUMER COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
This part of this document sets out how a complaint will be dealt with once it has been referred to the Independent Code Administrator. This procedure is intended to provide a cheap and quick way of resolving small complaints. It is not designed to handle a complaint resolution of which requires examination of a lot of evidence or non-documentary evidence or which requires oral examination of the parties or one which involves large sums of money. In such cases the Code Administrator will decline to consider the complaint.
1. Representation and Costs
I. The complaint procedure is intended to be straightforward, quick and cheap.
II. Thus the complainant may use the complaint procedure without being obliged to use a legal representative. Although the complainant will normally not have any professional representation, the consumer is nevertheless free to use professional representation, assistance or advice. The complainant will have to bear the cost (if any) of this. The Code Administrator does not make any orders for the payment of either side’s costs by the other.
III. The procedure is free to the complainant.
IV. This procedure is intended to enable the parties to avoid legal proceedings and settle a dispute without having to resort to legal proceedings. It is not available where the complaint is the subject of another form of dispute resolution or of litigation between the parties.
2. Establishing the facts
I. The procedure will normally be conducted entirely in writing. Where both parties agree, it will be conducted entirely by email, provided that that is suitable for the consumer/complainant.
II. It will be an open procedure. Thus all material submitted by each side (whether documents or written answers to questions or any other material) will be available to the other, who will be entitled to make comments upon it. Such comments should be made promptly. In the case of written material submitted by the DSA member, the DSA member will be expected to supply two copies (one to the Code Administrator and one to the complainant).
III. The Code Administrator may himself take an active part in the process in that he
(a) may at any stage before making an adjudication encourage the parties to settle the dispute amicably, and
(b) may himself pose questions to one or other of the parties and ask for specific information and/or documents. The parties will be expected to use their best endeavours to answer such questions and provide the requested information and/or documents – and to do
IV. The Code Administrator normally will consider only such evidence as is provided by the parties. The Code Administrator may, however, seek evidence (normally in writing) from any relevant person. Copies of any such evidence will be made available to the parties.
V. Before making an adjudication, the Code Administrator may issue provisional findings of the facts and ask the parties to comment upon them before reaching his final findings of the facts. His findings will be based on the information supplied by the parties and any other information which the Code Administrator has obtained under 2 (IV) above.
3. Quickness of the Procedure
I. The Code Administrator will determine the matter as quickly as possible after the complaint is referred to him.
II. The speed with which the procedure is completed is to some extent dependent upon the parties supplying documents, answering questions etc quickly.
III. The Code Administrator may, at any time in the process, impose deadlines for responses and failure to meet a deadline may result in an adjudication which fails to take into account the missing response(s).
IV. In any event, the Code Administrator will normally deliver his adjudication within two weeks of receiving the final representations/documents/comments of the parties.
4. The Adjudication
I. The Code Administrator will uphold the complaint if there has been a breach of the Consumer Code of Practice of the DSA or of the relevant law. The relevant law will normally be the law of the country where the consumer lives.
II. If he finds that there has been a breach of the Code or of the law, the Code Administrator may impose on the DSA member any, or none, of the Sanctions listed in the DSA Consumer Code of Practice.
III. He will give both parties a copy of his written adjudication, which will include his reasons for his decision. This will normally be done
IV. The adjudication is binding on the DSA member but not on the complainant.
I. Except as mentioned in this paragraph, the proceedings and the adjudication will be confidential to the parties and to the Code Administrator.
II. The Code Administrator may refer the matter to the DSA Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the provisions of the DSA Consumer Code of Practice.
III. The Code Administrator shall summarise all complaints in general terms in his annual activity report to the DSA council (which report may be circulated to consumer bodies having an interest in the proper functioning of the complaints procedure). Such summaries of complaints shall not identify the complainant; nor will they name the DSA member; they will describe the type of complaint (in general terms) and indicate whether (a) it was settled before adjudication and, if not, (b) the party in whose favour the adjudication was made.
- May 2014
[This is the complaint procedure for use in the case of complaints by consumers against a member company of the DSA of the UK.]