Scroll down

6 step surveyors guide to handling professional indemnity complaints

Avoiding complaints or dealing with them expeditiously, is important to a successful business.

Last year 75% of complaints were accepted by the Ombudsman because firms had not resolved the complaint within the eight week period allowed to a surveyor for internal resolution.

Only 19% were referred because the complainant was not satisfied with the surveyor's response to the complaint. There is substantial scope for reducing referrals to the Ombudsman if this eight week period is used more effectively.

Written by Kate Slater on 1st October 2014

6 step surveyors guide to handling professional indemnity complaints

Avoiding complaints or dealing with them expeditiously, is important to a successful business.

Last year 75% of complaints were accepted by the Ombudsman because firms had not resolved the complaint within the eight week period allowed to a surveyor for internal resolution.

Only 19% were referred because the complainant was not satisfied with the surveyor's response to the complaint. There is substantial scope for reducing referrals to the Ombudsman if this eight week period is used more effectively.

It would also appear that some awards are made solely on the ground that the surveyor failed to deal with the complaint properly, rather than having dealt with the original instruction inadequately.

Common complaints

The most common reason for client dissatisfaction in relation to surveys is that the surveyor has failed to report a defect, which comes to the purchaser's attention soon after moving into the property.

The Ombudsman also cites confusion on the part of the client as to the type of report undertaken, with consequent unrealistic expectations being at the root of many complaints.

As you will know from being part of The Ombudsman Service: Property or The Property Ombudsman, a surveyor is not expected to foresee all problems, and works on the basis that the defect had to be visible at the time of the inspection in order for the complaint to be upheld.

Surveyors guide to handling complaints

Bearing these details in mind, here's some suggestions for avoiding referral to the Ombudsman in the first place and keeping a complaints 'clean sheet':

Be clear

Be clear with your clients as to the report you are producing and the extent of the inspection undertaken.

Risk procedures

Have good risk management procedures in place in respect of the production of the report itself.

Time limits

Ensure that your complaints procedure has clear time limits with the aim of resolving complaints as far as possible within eight weeks.

Staff knowledge

Make sure all your staff are aware of the complaints procedure and can provide it on request.

Efficiency

Deal with complaints efficiently and follow your complaints procedure. Never ignore a complaint.

Be realistic

Be realistic about the service you have provided. If there is merit in the complaint, recognise this and seek to resolve the problem as early as possible.

Stay ahead of the complaint

Although complaints have increased from 465 to 700 in just over 2 years, the nature of the complaints and reasons for referrals to the Ombudsman have stayed constant. Around 60% of professional indemnity complaints relate to valuations and surveys, whilst 20% relate to property management.

Ensuring you have followed the correct procedures and regulations set out by the Ombudsman will protect you in the case of a complaint. They may be on the increase, but that doesn't mean you have to get stung as a result. Stick to these 6 steps and you will always be ahead of the complaints procedure.

See other blogs related to: Insurance

Sign up for our newsletter

Get social

Quality insurance, expert advice - call us for your FREE no obligation review on

Tel: 01332 545720