Dispute & Complaints Resolution Policy

Scope of Policy

All complaints received by the staff of ARMA whether verbal or written, implied or explicit will be dealt with irrespective of its validity or authenticity.
 
A complaint is defined as:

  • Any communication to any member of ARMA where dissatisfaction is expressed by:

  • Any customers;

  • Non-ARMA customers;

  • Authorised Third Parties of ARMA customers or Non-ARMA customers;

  • Relating to ARMA services, activities or the complaints handling process its self where a response or resolution is expected, staff will clarify the complainant’s expectations.

  • Communication that is recognised as a complaint under applicable industry codes of conduct.

 
A dispute is defined as:

  • Any communication to any member of ARMA where liability for an account is contested.


Where a complaint or dispute is resolved to the customers satisfaction by the end of the next business day from when the compliant or dispute was received we do not need to implement the complete process.

 
Customer's Rights and Responsibilities
 
ARMA observes the Complaint Handling Principles outlined below. These principles outline the manner in which customer complaints will be addressed.
 
If a customer is not satisfied with the result of the investigation or if they feel the process was not fair to them, they should contact the Manager handling the complaint.
 
If complainant remains unsatisfied by the Internal Dispute Resolution process, they should be directed to the appropriate External Dispute Resolution Scheme and be provided the details on how to access the scheme.
 
Our Rights and Responsibilities
 
Openness: well publicised, accessible and understood by those involved in a complaint. The process should be clear and well publicised so that both personnel and complainants can follow them.
 
Impartiality: avoiding any bias in dealing with the complainant, the person complained against or the organization. The process should be designed to protect the person complained against from any biased treatment. Emphasis should be placed on solving the problem and not on assigning blame. If a complaint is made about personnel, the investigation should be carried out independently.
 
Confidentiality: the process should be designed to protect the complainant's and customer's identity, as far as is reasonably possible. This aspect is very important to avoid deterring possible complaints from people who may be afraid that giving details could lead to inconvenience or discrimination.
 
Accessibility: access to the complaints handling process should be made at any reasonable point or time. Information about the complaints process should be readily available in clear language and in formats accessible to all complainants. When a complaint affects different supply chain participants, a plan to coordinate a joint response should be made. The process should allow any information arising from the complaints to be known by any suppliers of the organization that are concerned by the complaint so that they are able to make improvements.
 
Completeness: finding out the relevant facts, talking to people from both sides involved in the complaint to establish a common ground and verify explanations, whenever possible.
 
Equitability: giving equal treatment to all people.
Sensitivity: each case should be considered on its merits, paying due care to individual differences and needs.
 
Objectivity for personnel
 
Complaints-handling procedures should ensure that those complained against are treated objectively. This implies that when appropriate, informing them immediately and completely on any complaint about their performance, giving them the opportunity to explain the circumstances and allowing them appropriate support, and keeping them informed of the progress in the investigation of the complaint and the result. It is vital that those against whom a complaint has been made are given full details of the complaint before they are interviewed. However, confidentiality should be observed. Personnel should be reassured that they are supported by the process. Personnel should be encouraged to learn from the complaints-handling experience and to develop a better understanding of the complainant perspectives.
 
Confidentiality
 
In addition to ensuring complainant confidentiality, the complaints-handling process should ensure confidentiality in the case of complaints against personnel. The details of such complaints should be known only by those directly concerned. However, it is important that confidentiality is not used as an excuse to avoid dealing with a complaint.
 
Guidelines
 
A complaint is a declaration of dissatisfaction and/or anger.
 
In general, whenever an individual is dissatisfied or aggrieved with the process of account handling including the calls made and letters sent by ARMA, it is considered a complaint. This is irrespective of whether ARMA and / or its clients are at fault or not, and without any exceptions as to how or with whom it was lodged or expressed.
 
The following check list can be used to identify a complaint:

  • Does the caller have grievances regarding the account or any process relating to the account i.e. calls made, letters sent etc.

  • Does the current grievance / dissatisfaction / resentment relate to a previously identified complaint?

  • Does the caller express dissatisfaction / resentment because of a statement that created false expectations?

  • Is the caller dissatisfied with the action taken or proposed to be taken with respect to the account?

  • Does the caller use phrases like ‘you are wrong’, ‘you shouldn’t have done that’, ‘you cannot do that’, ‘I do not agree to what you are saying/doing’ or similar phrases that express dissatisfaction?

  • Does the caller talk about escalation to Management / Solicitor / Media / Enforcement agencies?

 
If the answer for any of the above is yes it should be recorded as a complaint.
 
Training
 
The operations manager is expected to:

  • take reasonable steps to ensure all staff are aware of, and act according to this standard & complaint handling obligations;

  • maintain records of the complaint handling training delivered;

  • have adequate technological and financial resources to ensure the effective operation of the complaints management process.

 
Application of Principles - Starting the Customer Complaint
 
To help us resolve the complaint or dispute the customer is required to provide us with the following details:

  • The customer's full name and contact details, including postal address

  • Sufficient detail about the complaint or dispute, so that we can undertake an investigation (e.g. nature of complaint or dispute, dates, names, amounts, phone numbers, the credit provider, reference numbers)

  • Where all available evidence suggests liability for the account, the alleged debtor may be requested to provide documents to support their claims.

 
Complaints by Third Parties
 
A “third party” is any individual or organisation who is not considered to be responsible for the customer's account. An authorised representative is assumed to be the customers’ representative and therefore not dealt with in this section.
If a complaint is received from a third party it should be handled with consideration to the Privacy and Information Policy.
Escalating an Unresolved Complaint
First Level Resolution: Upon receipt of any complaint the collector should refer the complainant to any Team Leader.
 
Second Level Resolution: If unable to resolve or if complainant not satisfied, the complaint is referred to the Dispute Resolution or Operations Manager. Further Level Resolution: If unable to resolve or if complainant not satisfied, the complaint is referred to the relevant External Dispute Resolution scheme according to the relevant Time Frames for Resolving Complaints. ARMA follows a standard escalation model that aims to promptly investigate and resolve complaints:

  • Complaint recorded by Staff MemberIf not resolved by COB WD2

  • Escalated to Staff Member’s ManagerIf not resolved by COB WD7

  • Escalated to Dispute Resolution Manager

 
Escalating an Unresolved Dispute
First Level Resolution: If unable to resolve or if complainant not satisfied, the dispute is referred to any Team Leader
Second Level Resolution: If unable to resolve or if complainant not satisfied, the dispute is referred to the Dispute Resolution or Operations Manager.
Further Level Resolution: If unable to resolve or if complainant not satisfied, the dispute is referred to the relevant External Dispute Resolution scheme according to the relevant Time Frames for Resolving Complaints. ARMA follows a standard escalation model that aims to promptly investigate and resolve complaints:
 
Procedure
 
Complaints:
 
Upon receipt of complaint:

  • Review any associated documentation

  • Log in Complaints Register

  • Assign complaint to Dispute Resolution Manager

Acknowledge receipt of complaint:

  • Acknowledge receipt with complainant via specified medium (telephone, e-mail or post)

  • Ensure the collection matter is placed on a Hold Action status during resolution

Investigate the complaint:

  • Review complaint source documentation

  • Discuss details of complaint with complainant where required

  • Review notes on file

  • Speak with the employees concerned (if any)

  • Request any supporting documentation from the Client

Resolve complaint as soon as possible.

  • Objectively assess the evidence gathered during the investigation

  • Come to a decision based on the issue(s) and evidence available

  • Record notes in the collection file and Complaints Register

  • Issue remedial action recommendation and/or process enhancement advice (if any)

Advise Complainant of outcome:

  • Contact complainant via their preferred contact mechanism and outline investigation findings

  • Issue formal notice of findings to complainant

  • Supply any supporting documentation to complainant

  • Outline the resolution action (if any) we intend to take e.g. apology, refund, compensation, etc

  • Record the resolution and future action direction in the collection file

  • Mark complaint as resolved in the Complaints Register

 
Disputes:
 
Upon receipt of dispute:

  • Review any associated documentation

  • Log in Disputes Register

  • Assign disputed account to a senior collector

Acknowledge receipt of dispute:

  • Acknowledge receipt with disputant via specified medium (telephone, e-mail or post)

  • Ensure the collection matter is placed on a Hold Action status during resolution

Investigate the dispute:

  • Review all available information on file

  • Discuss details of dispute with disputant where required

  • Request and provide any relevant supporting documentation from the client

  • Request and review and relevant supporting documentation from the disputant

  • Assess merits of the dispute

Resolve dispute as soon as possible.

  • Objectively assess the evidence gathered during the investigation

  • Come to a decision based on the issue(s) and evidence available

  • Record notes in the collection file and Disputes Register

  • Issue remedial action recommendation and/or process enhancement advice (if any)

Advise Disputant of outcome:

  • Contact disputant via their preferred contact mechanism and outline investigation findings

  • Issue formal notice of findings to disputant

  • Supply any supporting documentation to disputant

  • Outline the resolution action (if any) we intend to take e.g. buyback, discount settlement, payment arrangement, write off etc.

  • Record the resolution and future action direction in the collection file

  • Mark dispute as resolved in the Disputes Register

 
Reporting & Analysis
Regular reports on complaints and disputes will be available, analyse complaints and disputes according to type of issue, subject, outcome and timeliness.
Management Reviews