Your right to complain

Every year Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole service helps thousands of people. However, every so often someone comes away from us feeling unhappy. Perhaps you had to wait for ages, only to find out that there is very little we can do for you. Similarly, you felt that you were not treated with respect or courtesy. Not to mention, our advice didn’t help or was wrong.

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. Nevertheless, we want to learn from our mistakes. Also, what you tell us helps to improve our service to you.

We will treat your complaint confidentially, seriously and quickly.

What can I do?

Clients can let us know if they are unhappy and to give us a chance to put things right. You can ask to speak to the manager or supervisor – she or he might be able to sort out the problem straight away. Otherwise, move to the more formal process.

The Third Party Complaints Procedure will be explained to you, if you are not a client.

Making a formal complaint

There are several ways to make a complaint. Firstly, you can put the information in a letter and send it to our business address. Secondly, clients can drop it into the service. Thirdly, complaints can be addressed to the Chief Executive or Chair of Trustees. Additionally, you can tell us on the phone or face-to-face that you want us to investigate your complaint.

Your complaint will be investigated by the Chief Executive under the direction of the Chair of the Trustees, or by the Chair if you are complaining about the Chief Executive. If it is upheld, you will get a full apology and, where appropriate, be given details of any action that we are taking to put things right. Equally important, if you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can ask for a further review. We will tell you how to do this.

We aim to respond in full to any complaint within eight weeks. However, if the issue is complicated, any delay will be explained and you will be kept informed of progress.

Review of your complaint

If you are still not happy after our response, you can request a further review.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive will conduct the review. An Independent Adjudicator can look at your complaint if you are still not happy.

Review by an Adjudicator

Finally, your complaint may go to a person who is entirely separate from the Citizens Advice service. Independent Adjudicator calls this particular person. However, if you want to progress to this stage, you must do so within four weeks of receiving the Citizens Advice review.

Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service provides a free, independent service for clients to solve disputes with not for profit debt advice providers. Financial Conduct Authority, FRN: 617515, authorises and regulates us.

Correspondingly, they will only step in once the bureau has had the opportunity to investigate matters, so please contact us first.

Financial Ombudsman can review your complaint if:

  • your complaint is about debt advice
  • you were seeking advice about your credit record
  • you are not satisfied with our final response
  • eight weeks have passed since you first let us know about your concerns

Contact the Financial Ombudsman Service

By post:
Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
London E14 9SR

By phone:
0800 0 234 567 – free for people phoning from a ‘fixed’ line (e.g. a landline at home)
0300 123 9 123 – free for mobile phone users who pay a monthly charge for calls to numbers starting 01 and 02.

By email:


Send your complaint to:
Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Bournemouth Christchurch & Poole or the Chair of the Trustee Board at:

Citizens Advice BCP, Civic Centre, Bourne Avenue, Bournemouth, BH2 6DY

Or by email: