In association with East Lothian Council
East Lothian
Trusted Trader

Complaint and dispute resolution process


As a Trading Standards vetted Trusted Trader, all members have agreed to abide to a dispute resolution process as set out in the Trusted Trader Code of Practice.

Overview


If a consumer is unhappy with any work carried out by a member of the scheme, then they need to follow the complaints process detailed below. This is managed by Trusted Directory Services (TDS) and overseen by Trading Standards. If the complaint can not be resolved, then it may be referred to the schemes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service which is provided by Kent County Council Trading Standards.

However, if the trader is a member of another Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service through a Trade Association or other body, complaints may be referred to that service for independent adjudication.

Trusted Trader complaint process

  • in the event of any dispute or complaint between a trader and consumer, both parties should try and resolve the issue directly
  • if the consumer remains unsatisfied, then they must request a copy of the trader’s complaint process
  • any details of the complaint or issue needs to be made in writing to the trader. This can be either as an e-mail or as a letter. This document will form the basis of the complaint
  • the trader must be allowed a chance to respond and offer a solution or resolution to the complaint
  • if the complaint remains unresolved, or communication has broken down, either party may contact TDS with details of the complaint and request assistance
  • TDS will respond to both parties within five working days
  • TDS will consider the complaint, and where appropriate provide a recommendation to attempt to resolve the dispute
  • Trusted Trader members must communicate fully with TDS staff throughout the process of dealing with any dispute
  • any dispute which cannot be resolved by informal means will be referred back to the trader, who will send a final deadlock letter. This will set out their final position and any final offer
  • the consumer may accept the deadlock offer or request the case is referred to ADR, details of which will be in the letter, or take action through the civil courts
  • Trading Standards will review any cases that are referred to ADR to ensure suitability, that the complaints process has been followed correctly and confirm informal mediation has been exhausted
  • Trusted Trader members have agreed to handle disputes through the Trusted Trader ADR service and will cooperate with the ADR process
  • disputes which are referred to ADR will be dealt with according to their procedures. More information can be found at kent.gov.uk/disputeresolution. ADR is a quicker and free alternative to court, where consumers and businesses can resolve their disputes
  • ADR decisions are binding on members but not on consumers
  • the use of the Kent ADR service is included in Trusted Trader membership and is free for consumers
  • if at any time, the consultation of an independent expert is required, for example for inspection or testing, agreement will be sought from both parties about the arrangement of such a consultation including payment.

Responding to a complaint

  • TDS will ensure every complaint and dispute is investigated impartially
  • traders and consumers must fully cooperate with requests for assistance relating directly to the complaint or dispute
  • remember to keep all responses professional and factual
  • if attempts at mediation prove unsuccessful, then the case will be reviewed by Trading Standards who may then instruct escalation to ADR. This will lead to a binding decision for the trader.

If you are unhappy with a decision


Please direct your concerns in the first instance to the TDS Customer Services Director with details of your complaint or issue. E-mail complaints@trustedtrader.scot with a subject line of Customer Services Director.

This will be acknowledged within two business days and then thoroughly investigated.

Alternatively you can address any complaint to:
East Lothian Trusted Trader,
Trading Standards,
East Lothian Council,
John Muir House,
Brewery Park,
Haddington,
EH41 3HA