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09th October 2020

Customer Charter

The charter outlines what we will do, what you can expect and when you can expect it.

COVID-19 and how it affects our service delivery

Delivering excellent customer service is of paramount importance to The Consumer Council, therefore we wanted to let you know about some of the changes that we have had to make as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that may affect our service delivery to you.

Calls to our Freephone number – 0800 121 6022

NI Direct operate our Free Phone number from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Due to increased call volumes, call waiting times have been impacted, so it may take a little longer than usual for your call to be answered.

If you are having difficulty getting through, we apologise and can assure you that we are working closely with NI Direct to ensure that the issue is being addressed. If you are having difficulty contacting us via our Free Phone number, you can call our reception switchboard on (028) 9025 1600.

Alternatively, you can email us to or contact us via our website online form.


All of our staff are working from home and have access to telephones where they can receive direct calls from consumers. If you leave a voicemail, we will try our best to get back to you within 3 hours if left before 4pm. However, due to increased call volumes this may not always be possible and on occasions your call may be returned the next day.

Visiting our offices

In line with advice from the Executive, our offices are closed and all of our staff are working from home, therefore our offices are not accessible to the public without an appointment.

If you need to meet with a member of our staff, you can contact us by phone or email to arrange an appointment in advance. We want to protect both our staff and members of the public, therefore, visitors to our office must adhere to social distancing guidelines and masks should be worn, unless exempt.

All recommended hygiene measures will be taken to ensure that the meeting room is sanitised in advance of the meeting and hand sanitiser will be available on entering and leaving the office.

What is the Customer Charter?

This Charter outlines:

  • What we will do for you;
  • The standards of service you can expect; and
  • The expected timescales

It also outlines what we need from you to enable us to meet our commitments.

What we will do for you

  • We will quickly identify your needs and let you know how we may be able to help.
  • We will clearly explain what information we need from you, our process and provide an indication of how long each stage will take.
  • We will ensure you fully understand any information you are provided with and will advise you of the most likely result we can achieve for you.
  • We will ask you how you would prefer to be contacted ie. telephone, email etc.
  • We will keep you up to date on the progress of your case and inform you of any delays.
  • If we are not best placed to deal with your enquiry or complaint then we will give you the contact details of the organisation that can help you.

In line with our vision and values you can expect us to:

  • Be polite, friendly and professional and treat everyone fairly.
  • Be open, honest and transparent.
  • Be empathetic and keen to listen and respond to your needs.
  • Be reliable, fair and respectful of confidentiality.
  • Seek to deliver the best possible resolution for your complaint.
  • Base our conclusions in evidence.
  • Deliver against set standards and share this information with you.

In turn we will need you to:

  • Treat our staff with courtesy and respect.
  • Provide any information that has been requested as soon as possible so we can deal with your complaint efficiently.

Our service standards

  • Our staff will be polite, friendly and professional and treat everyone fairly.
  • We will aim to answer 85% of calls to 0800 121 6022 within 20 seconds on average.
  • We will aim to contact you within 3 working days of receiving correspondence by letter, email or via social media.
  • If you leave a voicemail between 9am and 4pm, we will aim to return your call within3 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 you have a scheduled appointment, we will aim to meet you within 5 minutes of your appointment time.
  • If you do not have a scheduled appointment, we will aim to meet you within 15 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Our correspondence will be written in plain English and will be easy to understand.

If we take your complaint forward for investigation:

  • We will keep you updated on the progress of your complaint and inform you of any delays
  • We will aim to provide you with a copy of the response from the service provider within 5 working days of receiving it.

Complaints about the Consumer Council’s service:

  • We will aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days
  • We will aim to provide a formal response within 10 working days.

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