Common Complaint - Customer Service


Summary of the issue

It is common practice for third party businesses to provide services for Scheme Members. Those services may, for example, relate to technical support, retailing, or direct marketing. Issues arise from time to time as to whether TDR has jurisdiction to consider a complaint which has arisen against an agent of a Scheme Member.

Usual positions of the parties

Often the customer is unaware that the business from which the complaint arose was not the Scheme Member but an agent of the Scheme Member. Therefore the customer will likely consider the complaint

TDR's view of the issue

TDR recognises it is common practice within the industry that some services are provided by agents to the Scheme Members. Typically those agents will carry the Scheme Members branding, and for all intents and purposes, trade as the Scheme Member. Often customers are unaware they are dealing with an agent and not the actual Scheme Member itself.

When considering complaints against an agent, TDR will generally apply the law of agency. Put simply, the Scheme Member (the principal) will be bound by an contract or undertaking entered into by its agent, providing that the agent has acted within the scope of their authority from the Scheme Member. A customer may rely in good faith on the representations from the agent as being representations binding on the Scheme Member. Accordingly, it is likely that TDR will accept a complaint made against an agent as being a complaint made against the principal Scheme Member.