What do I do if I have a complaint?
At Winter Solicitors we pride ourselves on our customer service, however, should you have a complaint you should initially take it up with our Miss Ruth Winter. if the complaint is about her and you would prefer to speak with someone else, you can discuss your query or complaint with her assistant Sarah or the bookkeeper Violet. Because Winter Solicitors in a small firm it is hoped that any complaint will be cleared up quickly with an initial discussion.
However, if your complain is more serious and you believe that discussing it with the staff at Winter Solicitors will not resolve your issue, then you need to make a formal complaint. this must be made in writing but can be made by email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can also help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, their full details are on their website or by calling their helpline on 0370 606 2555.
Please note: If at any time Ruth Winter, in her role as this firm’s COLP / COFA, establishes that a serious failure to comply with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Handbook and / or Solicitors Accounts has occurred, or that there has been any serious misconduct by any member of staff involved in your file, she is duty bound to report the breach to the SRA whether a complain it raised or not.
What will happen after my complaint is received?
We will firstly speak to you in brief about your complaint to establish whether it is a simple misunderstanding or issue which can be easily addressed / rectified. If your complaint cannot be satisfied we will ask you to confirm that you wish to make a formal complaint, at which point we will invoke the following steps to investigate your complaint fully. Please note that there will be no charge to you for an investigation into your complaint.
1. We will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint within two days of you raising your concerns, enclosing a copy of this procedure.
2. We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve passing your complaint to our client care partner, Ruth Winter, who will review your matter file and speak to the member of staff who acted for you. If Ruth Winter is the cause of the complaint then all items raised by you will be considered in full and possibly discussed with other members of Winter Solicitors in order to establish an independent viewpoint. If you do not wish for your complaint to be discussed with any other employee then you must contact Ruth Winter urgently to confirm. However, all discussions will be kept strictly confidential.
3. Ruth Winter, Sole Practitioner will then invite you to a meeting to discuss and, it is hoped, resolve your complaint. She will do this within 14 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
4. Within three days of the meeting, Ruth Winter will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions she has agreed with you.
5. If you do not want a meeting or it is not possible, Ruth Winter, Sole Practitioner will send you a detailed written reply to your complaint, including her findings and / or suggestions for resolving the matter, within 21 days of sending you the acknowledgement letter.
6. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again to explain why you remain unhappy with our response and we will review your comments. Depending on the matter we may at this stage arrange for another party to review the decision.
7. We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
8. If you are still not satisfied, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ or call 0300 555 0333 about your complaint.
Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of your receiving a final written response from us regarding your complaint and be:
• No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
• No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint
The Legal Ombudsman has provided further guidance on its service at www.legalombudsman.org.uk.
If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.