Home improvement complaints
Ombudsman Services can consider complaints about home improvement companies who are currently members of the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) or Home Insulation and Energy Systems (HIES). Before you can access our service you must contact the trader to tell them that you are unhappy and to try to resolve any problems. The trader must first have a chance to resolve the problem for you. Traders are required to have their own complaints processes, which you must follow.
Once you have complained to the trader it should acknowledge your complaint and offer a course of action within 28 days. If you accept the proposal, the trader has a further eight weeks to implement the agreed resolution.
Before we will accept your complaint you must:
- register your complaint with the trader involved and give them at least eight weeks to resolve it; or
- have received a deadlock letter* from the trader.
If you have accepted a proposal from the trader but it has not been implemented within eight weeks, we may still be able to help. If you would prefer someone else to handle your complaint for you, we can make arrangements with you to do this.
*A deadlock letter is an official letter to you confirming that it has not been possible to resolve the complaint and you have not already accepted a final settlement or resolution in relation to the complaint.
When to complain
You must bring your complaint to the ombudsman within 12 months of receiving a letter of deadlock. You must tell the trader about the problem within 12 months of knowing about it. Once you have complained to the trader they should acknowledge your complaint and offer a course of action within 28 days. If you have been unable to reach a resolution with the trader and more than eight weeks have passed since you first complained, you can ask us to look at your complaint. We can look at complaints outside these timeframes if the trader sends you a deadlock letter*. You must bring the complaint to the ombudsman within 12 months of the date of this letter.
What the ombudsman can and cannot deal with
We can deal with complaints where the trader is a member of DGCOS or HIES
We cannot accept a complaint if:
- you have not complained within the timeframes set out above;
- the complaint appears to be frivolous or vexatious;
- the complaint has no reasonable prospect of success, recovery or redress;
- the complaint is not about member of one of the aforementioned schemes;
- the complaint has been or is subject to court proceedings, arbitration, or other independent procedure for the resolution of the complaint or dispute (unless there is proof that the aforementioned process has been abandoned, stayed or suspended); or
- the complaint was previously handled, unless significant evidence has come to the attention of the Ombudsman Services that may have an impact on the previously reached decision.
Ombudsman Services has absolute discretion to decide whether a complaint is within its terms of reference.
Make a complaint
To make a complaint about a home improvement company that is a member of DGCOS or HIES please call 0330 440 1634 or complete an online complaint form.
PO Box 1249
It is not our role to punish traders when deciding what solution to provide. Our awards will be proportionate and will take into account all of the facts in the complaint. If we decide to make an award, and you accept it, the trader must take the action that we require. This might include:
- a service or a practical action,
- an apology;
- an explanation of what has happened; and/or
- a financial award.
If a financial award is needed, this will be an amount that we consider appropriate to the individual complaint.