It is recognised that, on occasion, a complaint may be received from an external party regarding the service provided by us. The complaint may be received from a debtor, creditor or other stakeholder group. Both Meston Reid Limited and Meston Reid & Co “the firm” pride themselves in observing the highest professional standards and take the receipt of any complaint most seriously. The key objective in dealing with any complaint is to ensure that it is handled promptly, fairly and with full transparency. The licensed insolvency practitioner “IP” will always have an overview of every complaint.
Should a complaint be received verbally, the person receiving the complaint will attempt to assuage whatever concern is being expressed. It is hoped that this process will resolve the majority of cases and if that should occur, a file note will be prepared and placed on the case file by the person who received the verbal complaint. A copy of such file note will be provided to the IP for review who may annotate it but, as a minimum, will initial the file note to evidence his review and place it in the complaints file.
Should a complaint be received in writing, it will be retained in the case file to which the complaint relates and a copy placed in the firm’s complaints file. An acknowledgement will be sent to the complainant and if possible, a verbal response provided within five working days which will also be subject to a file note (copy in both the case file and complaints file). If the verbal response is insufficient to satisfy the complainant, a letter will be sent outlining the response. In all cases the IP will have seen/approved the file note and signed the letter to the complainant.
Where a complaint is more sustained, the complainant will be invited to submit a detailed summary of the position on personal/company notepaper. Such complaint will be acknowledged by the IP within five working days of receipt and a formal reply provided no later than fifteen days thereafter. The reply seek confirmation from the complainant that the response is sufficient and make it clear that a further fifteen day period is available for any further observations that the complainant may have. If no further observations are received, the complaint will be deemed to have been concluded.
However, if the complainant reverts with further issues, such letter, together with previous communication, will be provided to the firm’s complaints partner who will acknowledge the letter within five days of receipt and provide a full response no later than fifteen days thereafter. The complainant will also be provided with a fifteen day period with which to provide further responses and as referred to above, any such response must be on complainant notepaper and be co-signed by another representative of the complainant in order to evidence validity within the aforementioned fifteen day period because this helps to remove the potentially fictitious nature of a complaint and focus upon clear fact. If no response is received, the complaint will be deemed to have been concluded.
For the avoidance of doubt, the complaints procedure is advised to all debtors the outset of a customer relationship when a personal insolvency service is being provided. It is also referred to in correspondence with both the debtor and other stakeholder groups e.g. creditors, when circulars are issued. If the internal procedures have been exhausted without satisfaction to the complainant, future correspondence can be addressed to :
The Director of Insolvency Services
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
21 Haymarket Yards
Tel : 0131 347 0100
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland “ICAS” is the body which authorises the IP (responsible for the firm’s personal insolvency work. ICAS deals with professional matters and regulates the firm.
The complainant can also write to :
The Accountant in Bankruptcy
1 Pennyburn Road
Tel : 0300 200 2600
The accountant in bankruptcy oversees all sequestrations, trust deeds and DAS processes in Scotland and the relevant website’s is www.aib.gov.uk. A complaint lodged with the accountant in bankruptcy is likely to be routed through ICAS in order to ensure overall consistency of approach.
Where a complaint refers to an activity with reference to the Consumer Credit Licence held e.g. the Debt Arrangement Scheme, a complainant may also refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service :
The Financial Ombudsman Service
Tel : 0300 123 9123
The Financial Ombudsman anticipates that you will have spoken with us and allowed us up to eight weeks to provide an acceptable answer. You will need to provide evidence of this when dealing with the Financial Ombudsman. The website www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk provides further information regarding how to complain.
The Financial Conduct Authority rules require every business to give a copy of the Ombudsman leaflet “Your Complaint and the Ombudsman” with the final response letter to the complainant such that the complainant is aware of his options. The firm will provide such leaflet free of charge when the final response letter is given. The leaflet is free to view at public libraries, trading standards departments and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.
If the complaint is against the firm’s IP specifically, there is also a Complaints Gateway which is managed by The Insolvency Service www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/contact-us/IP-Complaints-Gateway. A complaint will be acknowledged and passed to ICAS in order that it can be progressed in a manner consistent with others.