1. A Complaint
1.1 A Complaint is defined as any communication received, the purpose of which is to express dissatisfaction with any aspect of the standard of service received, a complaint can arise if any of the following applies;
1.1.1 it is plainly evident from the conversation or tone of the correspondence (anger or exasperation) that the customer is dissatisfied,
1.1.2 the customer has put the issue formally in writing (to any member of staff, including Senior Managers),
1.1.3 the customer has contacted, or tried to contact, Applewood previously on the same type of issue
1.2 A complaint will be handled by any suitably qualified complaints advisor or employee, as determined by the franchisee principal.
2. Receipt and initial analysis of a complaint
2.1 A Complaint must be logged on to an appropriate Customer Complaints database within 3 business days of receipt and assigned to a complaints advisor (the “Advisor”) or any suitably qualified employee.
3.1 A Complaint will be assigned a unique reference number and if it is not concluded by the end of the business day after it was received a written Acknowledgement must be sent to the complainant within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint.
3.2 The Acknowledgement must give the name or job title of the person handling the complaint and enclose a copy of Applewood’s own Complaints Handling Procedure shown on the reverse of the Acknowledgement letter.
3.3 If the complaint is concluded by the end of the same business day it was received it can then be closed without the necessity of following this procedure.
3.4 Financial Ombudsman Service rules require that an Acknowledgement is sent within 5 business days of receiving the complaint.
4. Final Response
If you have any questions in relation to our Complaints Handling Procedure, please contact us in writing at the address on the contact page of our website.
4.1 Following investigation, Applewood’s target should be to send a Final Response which must be sent within 40 business days of the receipt of the complaint. Best practice is to do this as soon as possible and we recommend 10 business days.
4.2 It must either uphold the client's complaint (and set out proposed terms for settling the complaint) or tell the complainant that it believes there are no grounds for upholding the complaint, and
4.3 In the case of complaints concerning customers under Regulated Agreements;
4.3.1 advise the complainant that they can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of the date of the final response should they remain dissatisfied, and
4.3.2 enclose a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service’s explanatory leaflet
4.4 A complaint must not be closed until a Final Response has been sent, unless the complaint is dealt with and closed by the end of the same business day it was received.
4.5 Financial Ombudsman Service rules require that a Final Response is sent within 8 weeks of receiving the complaint. Following this recommended procedure ensures this is done within 10 days as set out above.
4.6 The BVRLA runs a Trading Standards Institute-approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service which is available in those rare circumstances where you have exhausted our own complaints procedure and still remain dissatisfied. You can find out more here: https://www.bvrla.co.uk/consumer-advice/making-a-complaint-adr.html. Please see the Code of Conduct all BVRLA Leasing Broker Members are required to observe here: https://www.bvrla.co.uk/resource/leasing-broker-code-of-conduct.html
5. Complaints Reporting
5.1 The appointed person at Applewood is responsible for compiling and filing the Complaints Return in the first week of April and the first week of October every year and ensuring it is sent to the FCA within the time limits.
5.2 All records and files concerning complaints must be kept for at least three years from the date of resolution of the complaint.
6.1 If, on receipt of a complaint, Applewood has reasonable grounds to be satisfied that someone else outside of Applewood’s own business is solely or jointly responsible for the alleged failures, Applewood must refer the complaint to that company in writing (letter/fax or email) within 5 business days of receiving the complaint.
6.2 Applewood must by way of Acknowledgement, inform the complainant that they have referred the complaint and give the contact details of the business they have referred it to.
6.3 If Applewood is referring because they have reasonable grounds to be satisfied that the other business is solely responsible for the alleged failures the Acknowledgement should be in the form of a final response as above.
6.4 If Applewood is referring because they have reasonable grounds to be satisfied that the other business is jointly responsible for the alleged failures they should complete the full complaints handling procedure above for the part of the complaint that is their responsibility.
6.5 If a complaint is referred to Applewood by another business they should apply the full handling procedure above, from the date they received the complaint from the other business.
To register a complaint contact us by either:
Calling us: 01572 723443
Write to us at our Registered Office: 6A South Street, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6BG