Customer service is fundamental to everything we do
We know that using legal services can be daunting, and aim to make the process as straightforward and personable as we can. We aim to deliver a first class service every time and want your experience with Accident Advice Helpline to be a positive one.
Sometimes things don’t go as expected though and we welcome complaints as an opportunity to review and improve our service. If something is wrong, we’re committed to fairly and transparently investigating it in order to resolve matters to your satisfaction. Please raise any customer issues or service complaints, and we’ll endeavour to resolve them for you as swiftly as possible.
During your case
At each stage of your case, we’ll provide the name and contact details of the person responsible for it, together with the details of who supervises them. If you have any concerns, or an aspect of our service is less than you’d expect, we’d like to hear from you immediately. In the first instance please contact the named Supervisor by phone, email or in writing. The Supervisor will look to resolve matters informally with you, within two days (excluding weekends) of your contact.
In most cases, an informal chat with the Supervisor will resolve your concerns. If it doesn’t, you can formalise your complaint or speak with someone other than the Supervisor. Our Client Care team can record everything you’re unhappy about and recommend the best solution for you.
You can contact the Client Care team by:
Phone: 0208 416 2752
Post: Client Care, Accident Advice Helpline, Royalty House, 10 King Street, Watford WD18 0BW
What we need to know
To direct your complaint correctly, it would be helpful when contacting us if you could provide the following:
- Your name and contact details
- Reference number
- Your concerns
- Your preferred contact method
- How you’d like us to put things right
How we aim to resolve things
- If you telephone us, we’ll endeavour to resolve the issue in that call.
- If you email or write to us, or if your complaint can’t be resolved in a call, we’ll write back within two days (excluding weekends). We’ll acknowledge receipt of your complaint, confirm who’ll be investigating it and when they’ll reply to you.
- A Supervisor or member of the Client Care team will conduct an investigation and then write to you with their findings and any action plans or proposed resolutions. We may contact you during the investigation to discuss the complaint and/ or to suggest a resolution. Although the Legal Ombudsman Guidelines allow us eight weeks to resolve your complaint, you should hear from our investigator within 19 calendar days.
- If this initial investigation doesn’t resolve your concerns, you can escalate your complaint. We’ll need a few details from you to highlight the areas that need further review. A Senior Manager or Senior Client Care member will carry out a further investigation to provide you with our final response. It’s important we address all your remaining issues and this can take time, but our aim is to respond within a further 21 calendar days. We’ll always keep you updated about when you’ll receive a reply.
If, after exhausting our escalation process, your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, or the eight week period has expired without our final response, you’re entitled to refer your complaint to an Ombudsman Scheme or for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). However, we’ll always be happy to discuss your issues further if you wish to do so, prior to taking this step.
For complaints about our service, including billing issues, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman:
Phone: 0300 555 0333
Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9W
If your unresolved complaint relates to an insurance policy covering your case, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service:
Phone: 0800 023 4567
Post: Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London E14 9SR
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
This is a form of mediation similar, but separate to, the Legal Ombudsman. Companies exist who may be competent to mediate in some disputes but you’d need to obtain our express prior permission to use such a company. This doesn’t apply to contacting the Legal Ombudsman, which you can do at any time. You can find out more about ADR online.
The Legal Ombudsman aims to resolve complaints and assist clients and their solicitors to reach a mutual agreement. There are, however, time limits for submitting complaints to them. These time limits also apply for referrals to the Financial Ombudsman Service:
- Within six months of receiving our final response
- Eight weeks after lodging your complaint with us, if you haven’t received our final response
- Within six years of the date of the act/ omission if you haven’t previously complained, or
- Three years from the date that you should’ve known you had a complaint to pursue and hadn’t complained previously (if the act/ omission occurred more than six years ago).
The Legal Ombudsman won’t accept complaints where the act/ omission or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010 though.
If your complaint is about your bill, you may have a right to apply to the court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. There are strict time limits applicable and you may wish to seek independent legal advice:
- Within one month from the date of invoice you have an unconditional right to a detailed assessment
- After one month the Court may impose restrictions
- After one year from the invoice date, you will lose the right to a detailed assessment, except in special circumstances.
The Legal Ombudsman may not consider a complaint about a bill if you have applied to the court for such an assessment.