Commercial Water Supply - Delays in handling complaint
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- Your water retailer should have an accessible and effective complaints handling process which allows for complaints to be made in writing and/or over the phone.
- If you put your complaint in writing, you should expect to receive a response within 10 working days. If they don't reply, you could be due a payment of £20.
If you experience an issue with your water company, use Resolver to send your complaint to them. Most companies have a two stage procedure for resolving written complaints and they are required to provide a full written response within 10 working days of receiving your complaint. If your company does not do this, then they may need to make you a payment under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme.
Guaranteed service standards (GSS)
All customers of water and sewerage companies are entitled to guaranteed minimum standards of service, as laid down by the government. These rights are known as the guaranteed standards scheme (GSS). Where a company fails to meet any of these standards of service, then it is required to make a specified payment to the affected customer.
If you think you are entitled to compensation you have to make a claim within 3 months of the incident.
Exceptions - the GSS may not apply under circumstances outside of the supplier's control (such as extreme weather, strike action and other events that couldn't be reasonably predicted).
Suspecting a leak
If your bill is high and you suspect it is because you have a leak on your property, you should report it to your water company.
Supply pipe leaks are the customer’s responsibility. Your company will normally help you find and fix the leak for free, or at a subsidised cost, if it is the first time you have reported a leak. Subject to certain conditions, the company is also required to reduce your bill to take account of the extra water you have used because of a supply-pipe leak.
Water quality issues
If you have concerns over water quality issues, you can contact the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) on 0300 068 6400.
If your issue is with your local environment then the main contact is the Environment Agency, you can phone the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506.
If your issue is not resolved
If your Water Company in England and Wales cannot resolve your issue then you have the right to escalate your case to the Consumer Council for Water. The Consumer Council for Water is an independent organisation that represents consumers’ interests. Any household or non-household customer of a water and sewerage or water only company can complain to Consumer Council. It has powers to investigate most of the complaints you may have about your company’s services. You can find more information about Consumer Council on its website, www.ccwater.org.uk.
If you are not satisfied with the response from the Consumer Council for Water then you can ask to have your case appealed.
The role of Ofwat
Ofwat will deal with certain customer complaints but your case has to have been responded to by your water company and must remain unresolved before the CCW will look at it. The issues that they will handle include:
- Laying and maintaining pipes on private land
- Anti-competitive behaviour
- Breaking of licence conditions
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