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1.   Policy

1.1       Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a clear statement of intent with regards to the assessment, handling and investigation of customer complaints. Britelite Windows’ complaint handling policy and procedure has been created to meet the standards and requirements of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FoS).

The aim of this policy is to ensure that all customer complaints, either written or verbal, are handled in a consistent and regulated manner and that further complaint incidents are mitigated against and prevented.

1.2      Policy Statement & Scope

The policy relates to all staff (meaning permanent, fixed term, and temporary staff, any third party representatives or sub-contractors, agency workers, volunteers, interns and agents engaged with Britelite Windows’ in the UK or overseas) within the organisation and has been created to ensure that customer complaints are dealt with in accordance with legal, regulatory, contractual and business expectations and requirements.

1.3      Objectives

Britelite Windows’ objectives are laid out below regarding customer complaint handling. For the purposes of this policy, a complaint is defined as any customer contact whereby a negative communication or outcome has occurred. The customer does not have to formally address their communication as an official complaint or to request a response for Britelite Windows to treat the incident as a complaint and to follow the related procedures.

1.      Complaints will be investigated and responded to within a maximum of 8 weeks from the initial customer contact.

2.      Complaint responses will always be provided in writing.

3.      Complaint procedure will be available via the company website as well as via written or verbal request.

4.      All complaints will be investigated by a trained member of staff and a full outcome summary provided to Senior Management.

5.      Complaint records will be used to revise company procedures and to improve communication and business practices where applicable.

6.      Customers will be advised of their rights and provided with the FOS and FCA contact information should they wish to take the complaint further.

1.4      Responsibilities

Britelite Windows will ensure that all staff are provided with the time, resources and support to learn, understand and deal with customer complaints and that full training will be provided for new and existing employees on the complaint handling policy, procedures and expectations.

The Compliance Officer or a dedicated Complaints Officer will be appointed the role of overseeing, investigating and recording all customer complaints and is responsible for regular auditing of the complaints log to ensure mitigating actions and improvements are put into place where possible.

1.5      Complaint Recording

All complaints, whether formal or informal, must be recorded on a Customer Complaint Register. The register should consist of the below information and should be audited on a frequent basis to ensure that incidents are not being repeated and improvements are being made.

1.      Date

2.      Nature of Complaint

3.      Department(s) Involved

4.      Complaint Reference

5.      Lead Investigator

6.      Decision Letter Sent (Y/N)

7.      Date Complaint Closed

The log will be made available to the FCA and FOS when requested as well as being discussed with the local Trading Standards should a representative work alongside the organisation.

1.6      Who can complain?

For the purpose of this procedure a customer is a Direct Retail Customer of Britelite Windows or a Developer, Social or Private Landlord. A unique contract reference is issued to Britelite Windows’ customers on confirmation of their contract and should be quoted in all communications. (A person who is in receipt of our product or services via a Social or Private Landlord or developer should report any fault or complaint through them in the first instance using their own complaints procedure).

Any customer or someone acting with their authority can use this Complaints Procedure.

Anonymous complaints received by any means mentioned in this procedure will be acted upon at the discretion of Britelite’s Managers with Directors approval.

A member of the public who has been directly or indirectly affected by the actions or lack of action by a Britelite Employee, or Appointed Contractor may raise a complaint.

2.   Process      

2.1 Statement

Britelite Windows’ complaints handling procedure has been created to meet the requirements of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Financial Ombudsman Service (FoS) and utilises rules and guidelines from these bodies in its complaint handling procedure and policy.

Where a customer has cause to complain, the complaints handling procedure will be followed in every instance and a log will be made of the complaint nature and details to help improve our services and mitigate against further complaints of similar nature.

2.2 Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that customers have the ability to raise a complaint with or about Britelite Windows’ and to know that any such complaint will be dealt with in a standardised and structured manner. All complaints will be investigated by a trained member of staff and a formal outcome and response will be provided to the customer and where applicable the FOS.

This procedure will also provide:

1           Clear instruction as to how to make a complaint.

2           What will happen on receipt of a complaint.

3           What Britelite’s customers can expect to happen as a result of a complaint

4           What customers can do if they are not happy with Britelite’s response.

2.3 Scope

The scope of this document includes all staff working for Britelite Windows’ (meaning permanent, fixed term, and temporary staff, any third-party representatives or sub-contractors, agency workers, volunteers, interns and agents engaged with Britelite Windows’ in the UK or overseas), however the investigation, recording and written responses of all complaints will only be handled by trained staff, the Complaints Officer or Senior Management.

1.      This procedure includes all products and services provided by Britelite Windows, Conservatories, Roofline or Flat Roofs directly or indirectly through contractors appointed by Britelite to carry out a service for them.

2.      This procedure applies to all managers and employees of Britelite and appointed installers.

3.      It is not intended to preclude external bodies from becoming involved in exchanges of correspondence or verbal discussion where such action is considered to be materially relevant to any investigation into a complaint and its outcome.

4.      This procedure is be published on Britelite’s website and is available at its Maidstone Head Office.

5.      This Complaints Procedure sets out the stages and timescales involved in handling any complaint.

2.4      Objectives

1.   The procedure seeks to create a positive approach to complaints. Britelite view them as a valued means to continuously review all our products and the service we offer.

2.   Britelite Windows continues to be committed to providing a service commensurate with our 50 years’ experience in the home improvements industry above and beyond the requirements of the agencies we are members of.

3.  The objective of this procedure is to provide customers with a regulated, professional and fair route to raising complaints and to ensure a satisfactory response is provided at all times. Where Britelite Windows’ final response is not satisfactory to the customer, details of the FOS and their accompanying Consumer Leaflet will be provided to the customer in writing so that they have the opportunity to take the complaint further.  

4.  Investigations and final responses will always be provided within 8 weeks, unless an extended period has been discussed with and agreed by the customer previously. Final responses will always be provided in writing. Britelite Windows’ complaint handling procedure will be made easily accessible to all customers and a link will be placed on the company website.

5.  Provision of an effective means for customers to comment if they are in any way dissatisfied.

6.  All complaints will be dealt with in an efficient and courteous manner.

7.  To maintain records of complaints made so that regular reviews can be produced for internal monitoring and effecting of services and products

8.  To enable customers to feel confident in making a complaint and the way that Britelite will deal with it.

9.  Britelite’s Customer Service Administrators have a responsibility to ensure complaints are dealt with promptly, efficiently and in a positive manner.

10.To enable the Customer Service Manager to over-see the continued development of staff and ensuring continued improvements in the Service we offer our customers. This includes reporting to colleagues at monthly meetings and reporting any areas of concern to members of The Board for discussion and approval of any suggested improvements.

2.5      Definitions

For the purpose of this procedure a complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more of Britelite’s customers about a lack of action on the part of Britelite’s employees or subcontractors, or about the standard of product or service they have received from Britelite or its contractors.

It is for the customer to decide whether they are expressing dissatisfaction or not. If they are this is classified as a complaint. Some important things to remember are:

1.      Reporting a fault or a problem is not a complaint. This would be considered a request for service. We have a separate procedure for this.

2.      An example of such a fault would be an opening sash on a window not closing correctly. It is understood that a customer will accept that through use a fault can occur which their guarantee will cover.

Complaints can be made to Britelite using any durable method, usually by writing via e-mail or letter.

2.6 Equal Opportunities

All complaints are dealt with equality in line with our Equal Opportunities Policy available on request from our Head Office.

2.7       Consumer Rights

Our Complaints procedure does not affect a customer’s statutory rights as a consumer.

3.   Procedure

3.1 Raising a Complaint

Customers who request Britelite Windows’ complaint handling procedure will be provided a copy of the procedure either by email, in a .pdf format or in the post and will be asked to raise their complaint in writing as soon as possible after the incident.

NOTE: Complaints are to be raised in writing, however verbal complaints will be recorded, and written details requested from the complainant.

If a customer telephones Britelite Windows’ and wishes to raise a complaint, they should be passed through to a senior member of staff or the Complaints Officer who will try to resolve the complaint then and there.

Even if the complaint is resolved at the time, the customer will still be offered the option of receiving the complaints handling procedure and form prior to ending the call and the call recording must be retained and logged in the complaints record.  

A customer or their representative (with their specific authority) wishing to make a complaint can do so in writing. The complaint should be addressed to our Customer Service Manager.

A complaint can be made in writing by letter, fax or direct e-mail to val.francis@britelitewindows.co.uk at our Head Office in Maidstone.

A member of the public who wishes to make a complaint about any action or lack thereof by Britelite, its employees or contractors should follow the procedure.

3.2 Responding to a Complaint

Where an official complaint has be received, a written acknowledgement will be sent to the customer within 5 working days. The response should detail the complaint handling procedure and provide approximate timelines and expectations for the investigation and future responses.

A trained manager or the Complaints Officer are the only staff members who will respond to customers regarding their complaints. 

3.3 How Complaints are Handled

Stage 1 – Informal receipt and acknowledgement

  1. Complaints received by any of the methods under subheading 8 will be acknowledged within 5 working days. This acknowledgement will include information as to which department or employee will be dealing with the complaint.

  2. All complaints are recorded, and a digital copy attached to Britelite Windows’ Database Management System (DMS) on the customer’s unique record. Complaints are reviewed and updated periodically as appropriate.

  3. An attempt will be made to deal with complaints within 14 days of receipt, coming to a quick, informal, and mutually agreeable resolution by an appropriate manager or employee within the department concerned. If we are able to resolve a complaint within 3 working days we will send a summary resolution letter outlining how the complaint has been resolved.

Stage 2 – Formal Investigation

1.        If a complaint has not been resolved or the complainant is dissatisfied following Stage one, it will be investigated formally.

2.        The Customer Service Manager will make further investigations with the department involved and aim wherever possible for a resolution and/or full response in writing within 21 days from the previous communication.

3.        Further verbal and written communications may follow the 21-day period including possible site visits by appropriate managers until a mutually satisfactory resolution is reached. Records will be kept during this stage in the DMS on the customer’s unique record.

Stage 3 – Appeal

  1. The complainant may appeal the Customer Service Manager’s decision to the Chairman; only if matters of fact have been wrongly interpreted or they feel the resolution is unjust.

  2. If a solution has still not been found, Britelite Windows will issue a formal Final Response Letter

Stage 4 – Ensuring Resolution

1.   If the complainant still remains dissatisfied following Stage 3 either party may involve the Glass and Glazing Federation’s (GGF) conciliation service. This is a free service provided to members of the GGF and Britelite Windows have agreed to be bound by its recommendations. In the event that you choose to take this step you may access the service from their website at www.ggf.org.uk/technical-hub/conciliation-service/  Britelite Windows agree to fully cooperate with the GGF in their investigation and may pass information regarding our own investigations to them.

2.   The GGF will advise Britelite Windows and the complainant of their decision independently and will attempt to conciliate to ensure that a complaint is satisfied with a mutually agreeable resolution.

3.      The GGF offer an Arbitration Service to complainants unhappy with the conciliation service that has been provided.

3.4 Investigating the Complaint

The Complaints Officer or a trained staff member will be assigned the role of investigating complaints and will gather all necessary documents, recordings, and information to make an independent review of the incident.

If internal interviews are to be conducted, a note taker will be present alongside the investigator and interviewee and a copy of the interview notes will be written up and signed by the interviewer and interviewee prior to them being added to the complaint history.

All investigation will take place with 6 weeks of the initial complaint being received so that a final response (decision letter) can be sent to the customer within the FOS designated 8 week period.  

Investigations must utilise all of the facts and any previous, related information to produce an unbiased outcome and an expected course of action. A complaint reference should be assigned and all documents relevant to the complaint should have the referenced written on them for continuity. The reference will also be added to the Complaints Register so that complaint and document can be audited and traced back in the future.

3.5 Decision Letter (Final Response)

After the complaint has been investigated in full and an outcome and action decision has been arrived at, the investigator or Complaints Officer will draft a final response letter to the customer with both their findings and their decision on any action to be taken or compensation awarded.

The final response will be sent within 8 weeks of the initial response being raised.

If the complaint related to credit broking the Final Response Letter will also contain.

a) The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), telephone number, address and consumer leaflet providing the customer with their options for taking the matter further.

b) The customer will be advised that they have 6 months to log the complaint with the FOS. 

If eight weeks after receipt of the complaint we have not been able to issue the Final Response Letter we will write to the complainant explaining when we expect to be able to issue it, and if the matter relates to credit broking, we will also advise that they may appeal to the FOS as above should they wish to do so.

4.   Contacts

The following bodies referred to in this document can be contacted directly:

Glass and Glazing Federation Conciliation Service conciliation@ggf.org.uk

Financial Conduct Authority 0800 111 6768

Financial Ombudsman Service 0800 023 4567 www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/contact-us/complain-online

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