Every year Citizens Advice Gateshead helps thousands of people with their problems. However, every so often someone comes away feeling more than a bit disgruntled. Perhaps you had to wait for ages, only to find out that there is very little we can do for you. Perhaps you felt that you were not treated with respect or courtesy. Perhaps the advice we gave you did not work out for you or was even negligent.

Unfortunately, these things happen. We know we are not perfect. But we aim to be. That is why we have a complaints procedure. Sometimes we can put things right; sometimes we can only explain ourselves and apologise. But we do want to learn from our mistakes. What you tell us helps us to look at how we do things and helps us to improve our service.

Negligence

If you believe that the advice that we gave you cost you money (the most obvious example is in respect of a benefit claim) then you should seek independent advice from elsewhere - a high street solicitor perhaps or a law centre. In those circumstances we would not deal with a complaint at the same time as we are dealing with a legal action.

I am dissatisfied, what do I do?

Misunderstandings can often be sorted out on an informal basis. Don't be afraid to contact the Chief Executive, she might be able to iron out the problem straightaway.

But if you feel the problem needs to be looked at and put on an official footing, you can follow our national bodies complaints procedure or put all the information in a letter and send it to the local Citizens Advice manager.

What happens next?

To make sure that all complaints are handled efficiently and fairly, we have a complaints procedure. This runs through various stages when complainants continue to feel unhappy with the response they have received.

You can read our complaints leaflet here