DSAI CODE REGULATOR’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 Regulator. 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 Regulator will decline to consider the complaint.
1. Representation and Costs
The complaint procedure is intended to be straightforward, quick and cheap.
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 Regulator does not make any orders
for the payment of either side’s costs by the other.
The procedure is free to the complainant.
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
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.
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 DSAI member, the DSAI member will be expected to supply two copies (one to the Code Regulator and one to the complainant).
The Code Regulator may themself 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 so promptly.
The Code Regulator normally will consider only such evidence as is provided by the parties. The Code Regulator may, however, seek evidence (normally in writing) from any relevant person. Copies of any such evidence will be made available to the parties.
Before making an adjudication, the Code Regulator may issue provisional findings of the facts and ask the parties to comment upon them before reaching his final findings of the facts. Their findings will be based on the information supplied by the parties and any other information which the Code Regulator has obtained under 2 (IV) above.
3. Quickness of the Procedure
The Code Regulator will determine the matter as quickly as possible after the complaint is referred to him.
The speed with which the procedure is completed is to some extent dependent upon the parties supplying documents, answering questions etc quickly.
The Code Regulator 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).
In any event, the Code Regulator will normally deliver his adjudication within two weeks of receiving the final representations/documents/comments of the parties.
4. The Adjudication
The Code Regulator will uphold the complaint if there has been a breach of the Consumer Code of Practice of the DSAI or of the relevant law. The relevant law will normally be the law of the country where the consumer lives.
If he finds that there has been a breach of the Code or of the law, the Code Regulator may impose on the DSAI member any, or none, of the Sanctions listed in the DSAI Consumer Code of Practice.
He will give both parties a copy of his written adjudication, which will include his reasons for his decision. This will normally be done by email.
The adjudication is binding on the DSAI member but not on the complainant.
Except as mentioned in this paragraph, the proceedings and the adjudication will be confidential to the parties and to the Code Regulator.
The Code Regulator may refer the matter to the DSAI Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the provisions of the DSAI Consumer Code of Practice.
The Code Regulator shall summarise all complaints in general terms in his annual activity report to the DSAI 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 DSAI 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 Ireland]