The Property Ombudsman alters complaints process to speed up disputes

The Property Ombudsman has made changes to its complaints system in an effort to look fairer and to speed up the process.

Previously, an agent would see the outcome first  of a complaint if it was upheld against it,  while a consumer would be told first if their complaint was rejected, prompting claims of bias on both sides.

But now both agents and their clients will see the outcome of disputes at the same time.

Agents and clients will also be able to track upcoming deadlines and who is managing their case on its RESPOND system.

TPO’s board and council have also been replaced by one unitary board chaired by Baroness Diana Warwick.

Gerry Fitzjohn, former chairman of the board, and Michael Stoop, former vice-chairman of the board, will take up the positions of non-executive directors on the new unitary oard.

Stoop will also take on the role of chair of the industry forum which will feed back industry matters and concerns.

A separate consumer forum will be chaired by Mark McLaren, an independent board member.

TPO said its membership as of mid-August was 19,557, with 1,169 agents from single offices and 507 branch offices joining in the past six months.

Katrine Sporle, Property Ombudsman, said: “Despite being at the centre of complaint handling, it is apparent that the industry sometimes struggles with how to approach complaint handling in a consistent way.

“In response, we are committed to driving up standards by putting even greater emphasis on education, giving agents the right tools to handle complaints more effectively themselves.”

In another change, agents are to be given access to online training on complaints handling.

The first 1,000 agents who purchase TPO’s Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) course will receive the complaints handling course for free.

Completion will earn agents continuing professional development (CPD) points.

Full details are available at http://training.tpos.co.uk/

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2 Comments

  1. Woodie0636

    When I took my complaint to the TPO about bad practice I received emails from at least ten different ombudsman and when the outcome which ( I disagreed with ) I then had a deputy ombudsman look into the decision the ombudsman came to in turning down my claim and she found that the report outcome was right . You could not make it up.Also I was told by the ombudsman that they could not ask for evidence as a court can so have to rely on what is presented to them. This as a redress scheme is not fit for purpose as it is right for the company’s that know how the system works and the public that it is supposed to protect do not ?All the changes in the world will not make it any better.

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    1. PeeBee

      “All the changes in the world will not make it any better.”

      With respect, that depends entirely upon the changes that are made.

      I sincerely hope that your individual case is given a full, public airing, and that it forces the kind of change that actually does make a difference.

      But, unfortunately, I guess we will just have to wait and see for that.

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