03 Aug 2022
To remind licensees of current regulations and advice, the recommendations on how to manage complaints have been provided. This comes after a review of complaints rules revealed a number of opportunities for improvement.
34 licensee complaints policies were examined from various industries to see how accessible and simple they were to use. This task was mentioned in our 2021/22 business strategy to 'investigate how licensees interact with customers when things go wrong.' The study will also supplement the Government's review of the Gaming Act, which will include an examination of ways to strengthen consumer redress provisions in the gambling sector.
Understanding consumer complaints, the data publications revealed that 8% of gamblers have ever filed a complaint. A further 4% stated that they intended to file a complaint but did not. Our qualitative research looked at some of the probable reasons for this, including the belief that it is a time-consuming procedure and that the licensee may be purposely difficult to contact.
While the majority of the policies we studied satisfied the fundamental standards for gaming licenses, there were still areas where licensees might enhance their complaint handling. This will make the procedure simpler and more accessible to customers."Good complaints handling is critical in the gaming sector," says Ian Angus, Director of Policy at the Commission. We want consumers to be able to readily access and understand policies, as well as file complaints without difficulty. We know that gaming establishments get about 200,000 complaints every year, and while the Government's review of the Gambling Act will assess where these can be escalated, the bulk will still have to go through the licensee's complaints procedure first. We want to assist them in dealing with these issues effectively in order to enhance outcomes for both them and consumers."
To assist licensees in improving their complaint management, the following recommendations have been developed. There are also reminders to licensees of their obligations under social responsibility code 6 of the licence conditions and codes of practice, as well as directed them to the guidelines on Complaints and disputes: procedural, information providing, and reporting requirements.
- Good practice complaints handling: tips for licensees
include a link to your complaints procedure on your homepage
- Use plain English and avoid jargon or legalese
- Have a short and clear process for complaints
- Tell people what information you need to investigate their complaint
- Include details of the 8-week time limit for resolving complaints or issuing a final response
- Be clear when you have given a final decision or reached ‘deadlock’
- Include clickable links and check that they work
- Utilise technology, such as webforms and decision-trees, to help guide people through the complaints process but always have alternative methods of contact available
- Be accessible for all, including vulnerable people, and make adjustments where required
- Keep a virtual paper-trail
- Utilise Resolver and other consumer support tools
- Provide clear signposting to ADR providers