When something goes wrong, we want to know about it so that we can put it right.  Complaints about our service will help us improve. 

Information on complaints that we have received and lessons that we have learnt from them can be found under the Feedback section of our website at this link: Feedback

The following describes our complaints procedure and how to make a complaint. It also tells you about our service standards and what you can expect from us.  Our complaint form can be completed online here

What is a complaint? 
What can I complain about?
What can’t I complain about?
Who can complain?
How do I complain?

How long do I have to make a complaint?
What happens when I have complained?
What if I’m still not happy?
Factoring Complaints
Getting help to make your complaint


What is a complaint?

We regard a complaint as any expression of dissatisfaction about our action or lack of action, or about the standard of service provided by us or on our behalf. 

What can I complain about?
You can complain about things like:

  • delays in responding to your enquiries and requests

  • failure to provide a service

  • our standard of service

  • dissatisfaction with our policy

  • treatment by or attitude of a member of staff

  • our failure to follow proper procedure.

Your complaint may involve more than one of our services or be about someone working on our behalf.  

We will always tell you who is dealing with your complaint.

What can’t I complain about?
There are some things we can’t deal with through our complaints-handling procedures.  These include:

  • a routine first-time request for a service, for example a first-time request for a housing repair or action on anti-social behaviour
    requests for compensation from us

  • things that are covered by a right of appeal.  For example:

    • if you are dissatisfied with the level of priority you have been given when applying for a house, you have the right to appeal against the decision.

    • an attempt to re-open a previously concluded complaint or to have a complaint reconsidered where we have already given our final decision.  If you are still not satisfied, please go to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman for an independent review of the complaint.

    • issues that are in court or have already been heard by a court or a tribunal

If other procedures or rights of appeal can help you resolve your concerns, we will give information and advice to help you.

Who can complain?
Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is dissatisfied with our service.  Please also read the section on ‘Getting help to make your complaint’.


How do I complain?
You can complain in person at either of our offices, by phone, in writing, email or via our on-line complaints form.  

It is usually easier for us to resolve complaints that you make quickly and directly to the service concerned.  So please talk to a member of staff at the service you are complaining about.  Then they can try to resolve any problems on the spot.

When complaining, tell us:

  • your full name and address
  • as much as you can about the complaint
  • what has gone wrong
  • how you want us to do to resolve the matter.


How long do I have to make a complaint?
Normally, you must make your complaint:

  • within six months of the event you want to complain about, or
  • within six months of you finding out that you have a reason to complain, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.


In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit.  If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please contact us to explain why.


What happens when I have complained?
Our complaints procedure has two stages.

Stage 1 - frontline resolution
We aim to resolve complaints quickly and close to where we provided the service.  This could mean an on-the-spot apology and explanation if something has clearly gone wrong, and immediate action to resolve the problem.  

We will give you our decision at Stage 1 in five working days or less, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If we can’t resolve your complaint at this stage, we will explain why and tell you what you can do next.  We might suggest that you take your complaint to Stage 2.   

Stage 2 - investigation
Stage 2 deals with two types of complaint: those that have not been resolved at Stage 1 and those that are complex and require detailed investigation.  If you are making a complaint at Stage 2, please provide as much information as possible in relation to the complaint, as this will make it easier and quicker for our staff to help you.  

When using Stage 2 we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days

  • discuss your complaint with you to understand why you remain unhappy and what outcome you are looking for

  • give you a full response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 20 working days.

If our investigation will take longer than 20 working days we will tell you.  We will agree revised time limits with you and keep you updated on progress.  

What if I’m still not happy?
After we have fully investigated, if you are still dissatisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look at it.

The SPSO cannot normally look at:

  • a complaint that has not completed our complaints procedure (so please make sure it has done so before contacting the SPSO)

  • events that happened, or that you became aware of, more than a year ago

  • a matter that has been or is being considered in court.

You can contact the SPSO:

In person:
SPSO
4 Melville Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7NS

By post:
SPSO
Freepost EH641
Edinburgh
EH3 0BR

Freephone 0800 377 7330
Online contact www.spso.org.uk/contact-us
Website www.spso.org.uk
Mobile site: http://m.spso.org.uk


Factoring Complaints
The SPSO does not normally look at complaints about our factoring service. From October 2012 the Homeowners Housing Panel will try to resolve complaints and disputes between home owners and property factors. So if your complaint is about a factoring service, and you are still dissatisfied after our investigation stage you will be able to go to the Homeowners Housing Panel. More information will be available once the panel is fully established.

Getting help to make your complaint
We understand that you may be unable, or reluctant, to make a complaint yourself. We accept complaints from the representative of a person who is dissatisfied with our service.  We can take complaints from a friend, relative, or an advocate if you have given them your consent to complain for you.  

You can find out about advocates in your area by contacting the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance or Citizens Advice Bureau.   

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Tel: 0131 260 5380
Fax: 0131 260 5381
Website: www.siaa.org.uk

Citizens Advice Scotland
Website: www.cas.org.uk

Or check your phone book for your local bureau.

We are also committed to making our service easy to use for all members of the community.  In line with our statutory equalities duties, we will always ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to help customers access and use our services.  If you have trouble putting your complaint in writing, or want this information in another language or format, tell us in person.

Our Contact Details
Please contact us by the following means:

  • Or you can write to us at the following address:

                 Corporate Officer
                 Albyn Housing Society Ltd
                 98-104 High Street
                 INVERGORDON
                 IV18 0DL

You can email us at: Corporate Department
You can also telephone us on: 01349 852978

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