Our Service Standards

Our Customer Service Standards. The Consumer Council is committed to providing excellent customer service and meeting the needs of our customers in a professional manner. The standards of service you can expect from are:

Infographic

Staff

  • Our staff will be polite and friendly
  • Our staff will be professional at all times
  • Our staff will treat everyone fairly

Contacting us by telephone

  • You can contact us on our Freephone number (0800 121 6022)
  • Our telephone lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (except public holidays) We may occasionally have staff training session when calls are diverted to voicemail,
  • We will aim to answer calls to our Freephone number within 10 seconds on average,
  • 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 within 3 hours,
  • If you leave a voicemail after 4pm or outside office hours it will be returned the next working day by a member of our team,
  • If your enquiry or complaint appears to be an emergency situation e.g. loss of energy or water supply, we will endeavour to contact the service provider immediately to obtain more information on your behalf and update you accordingly; and
  • If your enquiry or complaint is about an issue we do not cover, we will give you the contact details of the organisation that can help you. 

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

  • We will provide clean, warm and welcoming facilities.
  • Our reception will be staffed at all times during normal working hours.
  • If you have a scheduled appointment, we aim to meet you within 5 minutes of your appointment time. We will inform you as soon as possible if there will be an unavoidable delay.
  • If you do not have a scheduled appointment and wish to speak to us in person, please visit us at The Consumer Council, Seatem House, Third Floor 28‑32 Alfred Street, Belfast, BT2 8EN. Press the buzzer for the 3rd Floor and our receptionist will give you access to the building. There are stairs and a lift up to the third floor. Ring the bell and our receptionist will let you in.
  • If you arrive without a scheduled appointment, one of our staff will aim to meet you within 15 minutes.

Customers with particular needs

  • Additional support has been put in place if you need extra assistance:
  • 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 induction loops in our office and have a Textphone facility if you have a hearing impairment.
  • 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.
  • If the information is not available in the language or format you need, we try our best to meet your needs

Handling complaints against service providers

  • When you first make contact with us we will ask if you have If you have already contacted the service provided 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 with the service provider’s response, we will investigate the matter further. We may need to ask you for further information (such as correspondence to/from the service provider)
  • 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.
  • 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 the response, and to provide us with any feedback or queries that may need 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

The Consumer Council is committed to providing you with a high quality service. However there may be occasions when problems arise and you do not receive the service you expect. We would like to know when an issue has arisen so that we can put it right for you and learn from your experience.

You can find out more information about leaving feedback or how to make a complaint by clicking here.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of our service you can contact us via the following methods:

  • Website: www.consumercouncil.org.uk;
  • Email: contact@consumercouncil.org.uk;
  • Telephone: 0800 121 6022
  • If you submit a complaint to us we will acknowledge this within 3 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 unhappy with the response received you can make a formal complaint to our Chief Executive:

Email: John.French@consumercouncil.org.uk
Write to: John French, Chief Executive
               Floor 3 Seatem House
               28-32 Alfred St
               Belfast
               BT2 8EN

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.

You can find out more information about leaving feedback or how to make a complaint by clicking here.