The Cost of Passing the Buck: Who is Responsible for Improving Customer Service?

November 28, 20184min

Each day, UK households spend millions of pounds on consumer goods with the expectation that if something goes wrong with the items they buy, or the service they’ve received is not up to scratch, the issue can be easily and quickly resolved. 

However, this isn’t always the case.

If you have an issue with a product or service that can’t be worked out with the supplier, there should be a free and straightforward route to get redress, regardless of the sector. But access to redress is patchy – our recent Ending Consumer Detriment report found that more than half of all purchases made by consumers are made in sectors that don’t guarantee access to a free, legally binding ADR service. All-in-all, consumer spending in under protected sectors tallies up to £746 billion each year.

This means that if something does go wrong, consumers might have to take the legal route to get their money back, which can be costly, time consuming, and emotionally challenging. This is particularly likely in sectors like retail, where there is not compulsory redress in place. By comparison, sectors like energy and finance have a mandatory ombudsman, which means consumers are much better protected.

In some sectors, redress exists, but it can actively add to the detriment faced by consumers. There are over 70 ombudsman, ADR and complaints handling schemes, which can be confusing as many operate in multiple sectors. In the property sector alone there are 11 redress providers – how is a consumer meant to know which one is right for them? This makes for a frustrating resolution process that consumers shouldn’t have to deal with.

It is clear that something needs to change, and soon. In our Ending Consumer Detriment report and our response to the Modernising Consumer Markets: Consumer Green Paper, we’ve proposed a different route that would put consumers at the heart of the market in all sectors.

When consumers experience a problem that cannot be solved by a company directly, they need to
know where to go for redress, which means signposting needs to be clear. In addition, the experience of seeking redress must reduce rather than add to their detriment, so it should be free for them to access, as well as independent and fair.

For this reason we believe that an ombudsman, backed by strong regulation and effective advocacy groups, provides the best possible protection for consumers.

We’ve been following this model in the energy sector for years and through this experience we know that having only one ombudsman can reduce confusion for consumers seeking redress. The single ombudsman model provides one avenue for consumers – it’s clear, and prevents them being passed from pillar to post.

We want to make sure consumers have the best possible complaints system – one that works for consumers and business. Our role as an ombudsman is to reduce the stress consumers face to get an issue resolved, so a single ombudsman model may be the ideal, but what matters above all else is ensuring that consumers have easy access to effective redress and resolution.

Matthew Vickers

Matthew Vickers

Matthew Vickers is Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services.

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



UK Trademark UK00002648900

EUIPO Trademark 018131832

Contact Information

For article submissions:
Paul Ainsworth

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Masterclass enquiries:
Tel: +44 20 86385584

Customer Experience Magazine Limited
Company number: 12450532
International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct,
United Kingdom, London, England, EC1A 2BN


Find a job in customer support with Jobsora


vape: burnt coil vape ijoy diamond single battery vape mod albuquerque vape shops weed wax vape pen does e liquid go bad vape san francisco smok osub famous people who vape smok novo leak globe vape tank best vaping device juul alternative e cigarette in new orleans la vapor wholesale naked100 juice vicks vapor rub hair growth how much does a coil cost can vicks vapor rub cure toenail fungus chemistry of vaping ecig crib mankato mn smok badge pods ecig nemesis ecig box kit vape juice dispenser for car voopoo drag mini los angeles food poisoning symptoms nike vapor baseball pod system vapes smok nord coil life smok stick v8 mouthpiece new aspire tank how to make a box mod vape plain taste uwell crown smok tfv4 quad coil smok majesty manual smok e mountain vanilla mod smok alien mod update voopoo drag 2 platinum scarlet voopoo mojo how to know its done charging

cbd oil: cbd and melatonin is cbd oil legal in california 2018 cbd salve near me cbd isolate powder uses cbd milwaukee buy fab cbd oil thc boiling point eg m arthritis candy cbd oil for scars physicians formula cc cream cbd and skin cbd bar and restaurant perth dosage of cbd for pain cannabinoid spray how much cbd should i smoke emerald city cbd hemp cbd content cbd concentrate vape how to take cbd gummies cannabis oil near me weather cbd what is anhydrous hemp oil koi pet cbd taking tylenol with cbd oil buy cbd bud online pet releaf cbd hemp oil liquid define po fda approved use of cbd oil oil change rancho bernardo how to find who you are metta wellness cbd and pcos cbd xanax withdrawal can cbd oil cause the blood to thin cbd union nj can weed cause cancer yes or no cbd 45 viagra drink migraine and cbd oil cbd smyrna

weight loss: meal replacement shakes for weight loss quick weight loss programs susan page weight loss cocaine weight loss pills phil margera weight loss bliss weight loss gnc detox weight loss weight loss questionnaires running weight loss results goddess weight loss pills vitamin and supplements for weight loss raw food diets for weight loss celebrities who had weight loss surgery top 5 diet pills that work fast cinnamon and water for weight loss chrissy lampkin weight loss weight loss surgery tampa lipitrex diet pills beat weight loss shakes physicians weight loss reviews glucerna weight loss shakes leelee sobieski weight loss ramdev yoga for weight loss best heart rate zone for weight loss victoria beckham weight loss red light therapy for weight loss cheapest alli weight loss pills weight loss therapist diet pills like adipex big black weight loss hcg diet pills review low sugar diet weight loss biphedadrene diet pills quick trim weight loss products what pills make you lose weight diabetic medications for weight loss quick weight loss women protein smoothie weight loss garcinia fit 360 fitrum diet pills review

male enhancement: libido boosting foods how to erect fast naturally zoloft and ed pills to enlarge penis best testosterone supplement review pandora customer support all natural test booster sex cures depression can girls take viagra circulation vitamins staxyn review white pill 365 ed solutions 50 plus sex skinned penis foods that boost testosterone in men nitric acid supplement men plesure dr oz multivitamins supplement review site sex wikipedia how to get a large dick top mood enhancing supplements how to desensitize penis dick bleeding enhance male orgasms strong girl pre workout reviews jelqing results before after drugs are good pills to make you last longer in bed pro muscle fit review brain supplements professional muscle forums diabetic lotion walmart foods that have testosterone define difficulty supplements increase sperm volume marley generics viagra reviews rhino 5 male enhancement pill reviews online prescription for viagra