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Complaints During Trust Deeds In Scotland

Updated: 11th October 2016

As with any type of service, there are occasions when those who sign up to a trust deed become concerned about the way in which they are being treated. When this happens what are the options for making a complaint? This subject appears to be a common source of confusion according to the number of questions that arise about it on our forum.

Our analysis of the questions about potential complaints that appear on our forum is that they typically fall into one of three main categories (which might be resolved in different ways that we’ll explain further below):

  1. Misunderstandings and confusion on the part of the concerned client that can fairly easily be resolved.

  2. Incorrect or unnecessarily unhelpful information being provided by a junior member of staff at the insolvency practitioner firm.

  3. Genuinely poor and/or incorrect treatment of a client.

Scottish trust deeds can be confusing. A lot of information is provided at the start of the process, often in verbal and written form. Some of the language isn’t in common usage. Often people aren’t at their most receptive to information at this stage due to the financial stress that they have been under. This can easily lead to misunderstandings.

We therefore suggest that, if you become concerned about an aspect of the service that you are receiving, you raise it directly with your contact at your trust deed provider. Often your contact will be able to provide further information that will help to solve your worry or to reassure you that your concerns are misplaced.

All businesses have employees that are experienced and also employees that are newer in their roles. Most businesses also tend to have some outstanding employees and some that do not possess the same qualities or motivation to assist their clients. If you feel that your contact is being unhelpful, or lacks the knowledge or the will to properly assist you, it might be time to escalate your concern within the business.

Many writers in our forum have found that a letter written personally to their trustee (the individual insolvency practitioner responsible for managing their case) has been sufficient to end a problem that cannot be resolved at a more junior level within the business. Insolvency practitioners are intelligent and highly qualified professionals. They also have obligations to their regulatory bodies. For these reasons they’ll often step in to fix a problem that is brought to their attention.

If this type of letter fails to secure a response, or fails to secure the response that you were hoping for, you have the option to raise a formal complaint with the firm. They have to report to their regulators about the complaints that they receive, have to keep formal complaints processes in place, and generally will take the steps required to resolve justified complaints received from their trust deed clients promptly.

If your formal complaint doesn’t achieve the hoped-for outcome, and a reasonable period of time has expired, you then have to option to take your complaint to the professional regulatory body of which your trustee is a member. All insolvency practitioners that are actively taking protected trust deed appointments must be a member of one of these bodies. These complaints are submitted via a Government operated online gateway.

The applicable regulatory professional body (RPB) will investigate your complaint with the trust deed provider. If they feel that your complaint is justified they have the power to intervene and to require that the trustee rectifies the problem for you. Please remember that the Accountant in Bankruptcy (Scotland’s official insolvency service) has a general supervisory role in terms of protected trust deeds. The AIB may be worth contacting in the event that you remain dissatisfied after the RPB has attempted to address your concerns.

Would you like an informal view as to whether you have good grounds for complaint about the way that your protected trust deed is being managed? By posting in our forums you’ll be able to receive feedback from insolvency professionals as well as other members of the public that may have experienced (and resolved) similar issues in the past.    

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