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Water Industry Act 1991

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[F1[F2X129 Consumer complaintsU.K.

(1)This section applies to a complaint which any person (“the complainant”) has against a relevant undertaker or a licensed water supplier in relation to any matter connected with the functions of that undertaker or the services provided by that licensed water supplier.

(2)Where a complaint to which this section 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 subsections (3) and (8) below) investigate the complaint for the purpose of determining whether it is appropriate to take any action under subsection (9) below.

(3)Where it appears to the Council that the complaint is one the Authority would be required to investigate under section 181 below, the Council shall, instead of investigating the matter to which it relates, 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 section 18 or 22A above 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, the Council shall refer the matter—

(a)to the Assembly, if the matter relates to a relevant undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in Wales or to services provided by a licensed water supplier using the supply system of a water undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in Wales; or

(b)to the Secretary of State, in any other case.

(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 Act, the Council shall, if the complainant consents, refer the matter to the Authority.

(7)A referral under subsection (6) above shall have effect for the purposes of section 30A below 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 or the licensed water supplier;

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

(c)in a case mentioned in subsection (4) or (5) above or (where the complainant does not consent to the matter being referred to the Authority) subsection (6) above, 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 section, the Council shall make representations on behalf of the complainant to the relevant undertaker or the licensed water supplier about anything to which the complaint relates.

(10)After investigating a complaint the Council may make a report to the Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly.

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

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

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

(12)No report under subsection (10) above or information about a complaint referred to the Council under this section, from which the complainant may be identified, shall be published or disclosed by the Council, the Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly in the exercise of any power under this Act without the consent of the complainant.

(13)Where a representation made to the Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly about any matter (other than a representation appearing to the person to whom it is made to be frivolous or vexatious) appears to that person—

(a)to be about a matter which is or amounts to a complaint to which this section applies (other than one which, in the case of the Authority, it is its duty to investigate under section 181 below); and

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

that person shall refer the matter to the Council.]]

Editorial Information

X1The insertion of the new cross-heading "General functions of the Council" in Pt. II Chapter III gives rise to a change in the structure of this legislation on SLD which breaks the continuity of historical versions of the existing provisions which are now brought under that new heading.

Textual Amendments

F1Ss. 27C-27G and preceding cross-heading inserted (1.10.2005) by Water Act 2003 (c. 37), ss. 43(1), 105(3); S.I. 2005/2714, art. 2(c) (with Sch. 2 para. 8)

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