Citizens Advice complaints procedure
Your right to complain
Every year the Citizens Advice service helps millions of people. However, every so often someone comes away from a local office feeling unhappy. Perhaps you had to wait for ages, only to find out that there is very little we can do for you. Perhaps you felt that you were not treated with respect or courtesy. Perhaps our advice didn’t help or was wrong.
Unfortunately, these things happen. We know we are not perfect. But we aim to be. That is why we have a complaints procedure. Sometimes we can put things right; sometimes we can only explain ourselves and apologise. But we do want to learn from our mistakes. What you tell us helps to improve our service to you.
We will treat your complaint confidentially, seriously and quickly.
What can I do?
It is important to let the us know that you are unhappy and to give us the chance to put things right. Don’t be afraid to speak to the manager – he might be able to sort out the problem straight away. Otherwise, move to the more formal process.
If you are not a client, ask the bureau manager to explain the Third Party complaints procedure to you.
Making a formal complaint
There are several ways to make a complaint. You can put the information in a letter and send it to our office, 87 Park Road, Hartlepool, TS26 9HP or drop it into the office. Complaints can be addressed to the office manager or chair. You can tell the office on the phone or face-
If you prefer, you can ask national Citizens Advice to refer your complaint to the local office in question. You can complain via Citizens Advice by calling our complaints line. Or you can email your complaint. Citizens Advice will assess who is the best person to handle your complaint and ask them to deal with it.
Your complaint will be investigated by the bureau manager under the direction of the chair of the bureau, or by the chair if you are complaining about the manager. If it is upheld, you will get a full apology and, where appropriate, be given details of any action that the bureau is taking to put things right. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can ask for a further review. The bureau will tell you how to do this.
The bureau will aim to respond in full to your complaint in eight weeks. However, if the issue is complicated, any delay will be explained and you will be kept informed of progress.
Review of your complaint
If you are still not happy after the bureau’s response, you can request a further review.
The review will be conducted under the direction of the Citizens Advice Chief Executive. If you are still not happy, you can ask for your complaint to be looked at by an Independent Adjudicator.
Review by an Adjudicator
Finally, your complaint may go to a person who is entirely separate from the CAB service. This person is called the Independent Adjudicator. If you want to progress to this stage, you must do so within four weeks of receiving the Citizens Advice review.
Financial Ombudsman Service
The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free, independent service for clients to solve disputes with not for profit debt advice providers.
The Financial Ombudsman Service will only step in once the bureau has had the opportunity to investigate matters, so please contact the bureau first.
If your complaint is about debt advice or if you were seeking advice about your credit record and you are not satisfied with the bureau’s final response or if eight weeks have passed since you first let the bureau know about your concerns, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman to review your complaint.
Contact the Financial Ombudsman Service
Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SR
Send your complaint to
The Manager of Citizens Advice Hartlepool or the Chair of the Trustee Board at the address.
Or make your complaint via national Citizens Advice:
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Citizens Advice Hartlepool is a registered charity (number 1140773) and is a Limited
Company (number: 7508891) with registered offices at 87 Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HP.
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