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Retail complaints in-store or online

We can:

· Direct the retailer/trader to take, or desist from taking, certain steps – such as providing a refund or exchange or issuing a formal apology.

· Direct the retailer/trader to pay you a financial award by way of compensation (up to £25,000) for proven financial loss – where appropriate and applicable.

If the retailer/trader is a member of The Retail Ombudsman, they will be contractually obligated to implement our decision. However, if the retailer/trader is not a member it will be within their discretion, although in most circumstances we would expect non-member retailers to reconsider their position.
There are two ways to bring your complaint to The Retail Ombudsman;

1. By post – if you do not have access to the Internet you can telephone 0203 137 8268 and ask one of our team members to post a complaint form to you. Send your completed form to: The Retail Ombudsman, 33 Floor, Euston Towers, 286 Euston Road, London NW1 3DP.

2. Online – if you have access to the Internet you can file your complaint via our online portal. To access this simply go to the home page of the website and click on ‘File your complaint‘. As soon as you have filed your complaint you will be taken to your own personal portal page. This page provides you with live information about your claim so that you can check the progress at any time of day.

Note: Upon submission of your complaint one of our caseworkers will firstly determine whether your complaint falls within The Retail Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. If it does not we will not be able to deal with your complaint and we will notify you in writing, by no later than 21 days, of the reasons why.

Once accepted, your complaint will go through a 5-step procedure as shown below. You will be kept up-to-date with the progress of your complaint either via your personal online portal (if you have Internet access) or via post.

Once we have all of the relevant information and supporting documentation from yourself and the retailer/trader, your complaint handler will initially attempt to make a recommendation to resolve the dispute informally. If this proves unsuccessful we will issue a final determination. If you are not happy with the final determination you will be free to take your complaint to court.

We aim to process all complaints within 60 days.
Consumers are not bound by our recommendations or determination unless you agree to be bound. If you do not agree to be bound and you are unhappy with the outcome, you can still take your complaint elsewhere (such as to court).
It's vitally important that you complete the complaint form as thoroughly as possible. We need to know precisely what your complaint is and how it has arisen.

We base our determinations on the information and evidence provided to us. Where we have to decide on a matter of fact we do so on the balance of probabilities (that is which version of events is more likely to be accurate).

We therefore advise that both consumers and retailers provide as much supporting evidence as possible, such as:

- receipts
- photographs
- etc...

General Retail (online and in-store)


How to make a consumer complaint with a retailer 

If you’ve had a dispute with a retailer (online or in-store) and are looking to escalate the complaint for a swift resolution, then The Retail Ombudsman is here to help you get your dispute resolved.

You may have a problem or a dispute with the retailer’s goods/products you purchased or services which you have found to be unsatisfactory. If this is the case, and you have already complained to the retailer, you can use our consumer complaint form to get your complaint process started.

Before making a consumer complaint

Please note that to be eligible to make a complaint against a retailer, you must have already complained to that retailer directly in writing and either received a final written response (otherwise known as a ‘deadlock letter’) or given the retailer eight (8) weeks to respond to your dispute. The Retail Ombudsman can only deal with unresolved complaints.

complain about a shop or website

Which consumer complaints does the retailer sector cover?

The retailer (online or in-store) sector covers consumer complaints against any supermarkets, high street shops, and online stores. Below is a list of popular sources of complaints which The Retail Ombudsman handles within this sector:

  • Supermarkets
  • High street shops
  • Online stores
  • Furniture/furnishings
  • Shopping centres
  • Department stores
  • Bookstores
  • Bridal shops
  • Cycle shops
  • Sports shops
  • Private clinical services

If your complaint is about an airline, please click here.

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