Handling complaints

How your organisation handles complaints

A complaint is an “expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required” (Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 10002:2014, Guidelines for complaint management in organisations (as amended)).

As part of our commitment to independent and fair dispute resolution, the Energy and Water Ombudsman encourages all residential and small business customers to make their complaint directly to the service providers before the Energy and Water Ombudsman becomes involved.

It is important for service providers to have an effective complaints handling system in place to facilitate this.

Complaints are also an important way for service providers to be accountable to the public, as well as providing valuable prompts to review the performance and conduct of the people that work within and for it.

An effective complaint handling system provides three key benefits:

  1. It resolves issues raised by a dissatisfied person in a timely and cost-effective way.
  2. It provides information which can lead to improvements in service delivery.
  3. Where complaints are handled properly, a good system can improve the reputation of an organisation and strengthen public confidence in its services. 
The public wantsYour organisation needs
  • a user friendly complaints system
  • to be heard and understood
  • to be respected
  • an explanation
  • an apology
  • actions as soon as possible        
  • a user friendly system for accepting feedback
  • clear delegations and procedures for staff to deal with complaints and provide remedies
  • a recording system to capture complaint data
  • to use complaint data to identify problems and trends
  • to improve service delivery in identified areas

The Western Australian Ombudsman has a series of Guidelines and Information Sheets which may assist service providers in the effective handling of complaints. You can view and download them from the Western Australian Ombudsman website (external link) external link icon

In the event that a complainant is dissatisfied with the response from the service provider in relation to their complaint, they have a right to raise their concerns with the Energy and Water Ombudsman.