Our Service Standards

The Consumer Council will treat everyone with respect and courtesy at all times. We ask that you treat our staff in the same way. All our calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

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Contacting us by telephone

  • We provide you with a Freephone number (0800 121 6022) to contact us. This number is covered from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).
  • We will aim to answer your call promptly.
  • If your call cannot be taken you will be given the opportunity to leave your name and telephone number on our voicemail – we will call you back as soon as one of our team becomes available, within an hour or the next working day depending on the time the voicemail was left.
  • If we are not best placed to deal with your enquiry or complaint (for example, if you have an issue regarding faulty goods purchased) then we will give you the contact details of the organisation that can help you.
  • If your enquiry or complaint appears to be an emergency situation e.g loss of energy or water supply then we will endeavour to contact the service provider immediately to obtain more information on your behalf and will update you accordingly.

Contacting us in writing

  • You can contact us:
    Through our website: www.consumercouncil.org.uk;
    By email: complaints@consumercouncil.org.uk;
    Through Twitter: @consumercouncil;
    Through Facebook: The Consumer Council Northern Ireland; or
    By letter to: The Consumer Council, 3rd Floor Seatem House, 28‑32 Alfred Street, Belfast, BT2 8EN.
  • We aim to contact you within 3 working days of receiving your correspondence to find out more about your enquiry or complaint and let you know how we can help you.

Contacting us in person

  • If you wish to meet us, we will make an appointment with you.  We will be punctual for your appointment.
  • However if you’re in Belfast and wish to speak to us in person without an appointment, please call in at The Consumer Council, Seatem House, 28‑32 Alfred Street, Belfast, BT2 8EN. Press the buzzer for the Third Floor and our Receptionist will let you in, then take the lift or stairs up to our office. One of our complaints staff will come to discuss your complaint as soon as they are free.

Customers with particular needs

  • Additional support mechanisms have been put in place if you require extra assistance to use our services.
    If you need a language interpreter we will arrange this for you and will begin to make the necessary arrangements within one working day. 
    We have installed induction loops in our office and a Textphone facility is available if you wish to contact us using that particular method.
    All of our guidance is available on our website which is text reader compatible and can be viewed in large text.
    The information on our website is also available in 13 other languages including Arabic, Polish and Mandarin. 
    We can also make our publications and guidance available in Braille upon request.

Handling complaints against service providers

  • If you have not done so already, we will advise you to contact the service provider about your complaint. This gives them the opportunity to address your concerns and put things right. If you are unable to do this, we can act on your behalf.
  • If you are not satisfied by the service provider’s response, we will investigate the matter further. We may need further information (such as correspondence to/from the service provider) from you.
  • Where we think you have a valid complaint we will do everything within our power to help you get a satisfactory resolution. However, we will be honest with you if we think your complaint cannot be resolved to your satisfaction.
  • Where we accept your complaint for investigation, we aim to contact the service provider about your case within 3 working days. A copy of our letter to the service provider will be sent to you for your information.
  • We expect to receive a response from the service provider within 10‑15 working days depending on the company (10 working days for energy and water providers, and 15 working days for transport providers).
  • We will keep you updated via email, telephone or letter (depending on your preference) on the progress of our investigation and will let you know if there is going to be a delay in receiving the response.
  • A copy of the response will be sent to you within 5 working days from receipt. 
  • We will allow you the opportunity to review this and to provide us with any feedback or queries that require further investigation.
  • We will make further contact with the service provider as necessary with the aim of reaching a satisfactory resolution.
  • In the event that we are unable to take your complaint any further we will fully explain the reasons for this decision before closing your complaint. 
  • When your complaint has been closed we will send you a Customer Satisfaction Survey via email or post for you to provide feedback on our service.

Monitoring our service standards

  • Every three months we will publish our performance against our standards of service.

If you are not happy with our service

Despite our best efforts, we are not always able to get you the result you want for your complaint.  We will however always aim to deliver the highest possible standard of Customer Service in handling your complaint.

If we fall short of this you can do the following:

  • Write to the Chief Executive of the Consumer Council (address provided above)
  • We will acknowledge your complaint within two working days.
  • After a full investigation we will explain what happened.
  • If we have made a mistake, we will apologise and put things right if we can.

​If you remain unsatisfied with the level of service from the Consumer Council, you can ask the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman to investigate the handling of your complaint.

Visit https://nipso.org.uk/nipso/ for more information.