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What is Conciliation and how does the Ombudsman use it to help both parties reach an agreement

When an application is received from a consumer, detailing a complaint against one of our members, the claim is investigated through our conciliation process.

Our conciliation process guides both parties through the dispute, requesting evidence from both sides. At this point, we may be able to decide on the validity of a claim, recommend or uphold an offer which has already been made prior to our involvement, or negotiate a settlement.

In 2019, 98% of our cases were resolved or closed via conciliation. Our experience and robust process ensures that in most cases we can make a decision at this point.

As an Ombudsman, we have more flexibility than the courts to identify practical remedies to resolve a situation. A settlement was reached, or a remedy was awarded to a consumer in 57% of cases closed during this process. These remedies included full or partial refunds, replacement products or works to put things right (such as installation fixes and repairs). In some instances, we also awarded financial compensation.

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