Complaints policy

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to our clients. When something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to sort out any mistakes or misunderstandings, and to improve our standards.

Initial concerns

In most cases, an informal chat with the lawyer responsible for your matter will resolve your concerns.

If it does not, you can formalise your complaint or speak to someone other than the lawyer responsible for your matter. Our Client Care Director, Ms Debra Hepplestall can record everything you are unhappy about and recommend the best solution for you.

You can contact Debra at:

Easthams Solicitors Limited

Continental House

292/302 Church Street

Blackpool FY1 3QA

Telephone 0800 032 1432

Email debrah@easthams.co.uk

What we need to know

To deal with your complaint correctly, it would be helpful when contacting us if you could provide the following information:

  • Your name, contact details and preferred contact method
  • File reference number
  • Details of your concerns
  • How you would like us to put things right

What will happen next?

If you telephone us, we will endeavour to resolve the issue in that call.

If you email or write to us, or if your complaint cannot be resolved in a phone call, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within 2 working days of receiving it.

We will then investigate your complaint. This will normally involve our Client Care Director or another member of our Senior Management Team she appoints reviewing your file and speaking to the individual who acted for you.

We may also need to ask you for further information or documents. If so, we will ask you to provide the information within a specific period of time.

We may also, if appropriate, invite you to a meeting to discuss your complaint. You do not have to attend if you do not wish to or if you are unable to. We will be happy to discuss the matter with you by telephone or video conference.

We will write to you at the end of our investigation to tell you what we have done and what we propose to do to resolve your complaint. Where possible, we will aim to do this within 21 days of the date of our letter of acknowledgement.

At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact us again within 14 days and we will arrange for another member of the Senior Management Team who is unconnected with the matter to review the decision.

We will write to you within 14 days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint, and explaining our reasoning.

If we have to change any of these timescales, we will let you know, explain why, and seek your agreement before proceeding.

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

If you have exhausted our internal escalation process yet remain dissatisfied, or a period of 8 weeks has expired since we acknowledged your complaint and you have not received our final response, you are entitled to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman will look at the complaint independently. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve the complaint with us in the first instance. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • within 6 months of receiving a final response to your complaint

and

  • no more than 6 years from the date of act/omission; or
  • no more than 3 years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint

For complaints about our service, including billing issues, you may contact the Legal Ombudsman via one of the methods below:

Phone: 0300 555 0333

Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV19 9WJ

Please note the Legal Ombudsman service cannot be used by businesses or most other organisations unless they are below certain size limits. Further details are available from the Legal Ombudsman.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies exist which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and our firm wish to use such a scheme e.g. Pro-mediate. We have, however, chosen not to adopt an ADR process. If, therefore, you wish to complain further, you should contact the Legal Ombudsman.

If your unresolved complaint relates to an insurance policy covering your case, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service:

Phone: 0800 023 4567

Online complaint forms available via their website

Post: Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, Harbour Exchange, London E14 9SR.

What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money, or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority:

Post: The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN

Website: www.sra.org.uk

Email: contactcentre@sra.org.uk

What will it cost?

We will not charge you for handling your complaint.

Please note that if we have issued a bill for work done on the matter, and all or some of the bill is not paid, we may be entitled to charge interest on the amount outstanding. This is explained in our Terms of Business and on the bill itself.

The Legal Ombudsman service is free of charge.