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The Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Consumer complaints

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55.—(1) This Article applies to a complaint which any person (“the complainant”) has against a relevant undertaker in relation to any matter connected with the functions of that undertaker.

(2) Where a complaint to which this Article applies (other than one appearing to the Council to be frivolous or vexatious) is referred to the Council by or on behalf of the complainant, the Council shall (subject to paragraph (8)) investigate the complaint for the purpose of determining whether it is appropriate to take any action under paragraph (9).

(3) Where it appears to the Council that the complaint is one the Authority would be required to investigate under Article 243, the Council shall refer the complaint to the Authority.

(4) Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter in respect of which a function under Article 30 or 35 is or may be exercisable by any person, the Council shall (unless it considers that that person already has notice of the matter) refer the matter to that person.

(5) Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter which constitutes or might constitute an offence under this Order, the Council shall refer the matter to the Department.

(6) Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter which constitutes a dispute of a kind which can be referred to the Authority for determination under any provision of this Order, the Council shall, if the complainant consents, refer the matter to the Authority.

(7) A referral under paragraph (6) shall have effect for the purposes of Article 61 as if it were a referral by the complainant of a dispute for determination by the Authority.

(8) The Council is not required to investigate any matter if it appears to the Council that—

(a)it is unlikely that the complaint could be resolved by action taken by the relevant undertaker;

(b)the relevant undertaker has not been given a reasonable opportunity to deal with the complaint; or

(c)in a case mentioned in paragraph (3), (4), (5) or (6), it is inappropriate to do so.

(9) Where it appears to the Council to be appropriate to do so with a view to assisting in reaching a satisfactory resolution of a complaint referred to it under this Article, the Council shall make representations on behalf of the complainant to the relevant undertaker about anything to which the complaint relates.

(10) After investigating a complaint the Council may make a report to the Authority or the Department.

(11) A report under paragraph (10) may include information about—

(a)any representations made by the Council under paragraph (9); and

(b)the response of the relevant undertaker to the complaint or any such representations.

(12) No report under paragraph (10) or information about a complaint referred to the Council under this Article, from which the complainant may be identified, shall be published or disclosed by the Council, the Authority or the Department in the exercise of any power under this Order without the consent of the complainant.

(13) Where a representation made to the Authority or the Department about any matter (other than a representation appearing to it be frivolous or vexatious) appears to that body—

(a)to be about a matter which is or amounts to a complaint to which this Article applies; and

(b)to have been made by or on behalf of the complainant,

that body shall refer the matter to the Council.

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