Alternative dispute resolution routes

If you have a complaint, you should first contact your water company. This gives them the chance to put things right. It also ensures that the company is aware of the problem you are experiencing. Details of how to contact your company are shown on the back of your bill or you can find your companies’ contact details here.

Your company should deal with your complaint using its complaints procedure. This explains the process the company will follow in handling your complaint. You can ask your company for a free copy of its complaints procedure.

Our expectation of water companies

We expect water companies to own the relationships with their customers. We consider that the companies are best placed to deal with complaints as and when they arise, being the front line providers of the water and sewerage service. We see our intervention only as a matter of last resort and only being necessary where parties fail to achieve a resolution themselves.

If you are not satisfied with your company’s response

If you are not satisfied with the initial response from the company’s staff, you should tell the company and ask for it to be escalated to someone more senior in the company who has not previously been involved with your complaint.

Ask the Consumer Council for Water to investigate

If you are still not happy with the response you get from the company you can ask the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to investigate. Its services are free. For more information on CCWater, its website is at http://www.ccwater.org.uk/

CCWater is the statutory body that represents the interests of customers in the water sector. It is independent of the water companies, and of Ofwat. Its role is to make sure customers receive a good level of service from their water company, to offer advice and where appropriate to intervene on customers’ behalf. CCWater can help customers with their water companies’ complaints procedure or formally investigate when matters remain unresolved, after the company has had a reasonable chance to deal with any concerns.

You will need to tell CCWater why you are not happy with the company’s response and how you want the matter resolved. If possible, send CCWater copies of any correspondence relating to your complaint.

CCWater will not normally deal with your complaint until the water company has first had an opportunity to resolve it.

You can contact CCWater by calling them on 0300 034 2222 (for English Customers), 0300 034 3333 (for Welsh Customers) or by writing to them at:

1st Floor, Victoria Square House
Victoria Square
Birmingham
B2 4AJ
Email: [email protected]

Following consultation with us, CCWater will advise you if your complaint is one that should be formally referred to us for resolution.

Refer your complaint to WATRS for independent dispute resolution

If you remain dissatisfied following CCWater’s efforts to resolve your complaint, you may refer your complaint to the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS).

WATRS provides an independent, impartial adjudication service. Its purpose is to adjudicate disputes that have not been resolved through the company’s customer service teams or by referring the matter to CCWater.

WATRS makes a decision based on documentary evidence and if the customer accepts the outcome, the company is required to comply with the decision within a specified timeframe.

WATRS cannot deal with any matter over which Ofwat has powers to determine an outcome.

You can find out more and make an application, free of charge, via the WATRS’ website at www.watrs.org or you can ask for an application form to be sent to you by emailing [email protected] Guidance notes are available on the website or you can ask for a copy to be sent to you by telephoning 0207 520 3801. Their address is:

WATRS
Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution
International Dispute Resolution Centre
70 Fleet Street
London
EC4Y 1EU