In association with Suffolk County Council
Trusted Trader
Trading Standards Approved

Complaint and dispute resolution process

As a Trading Standards vetted Trusted Trader, all members have agreed to abide to a dispute resolution process as set out in the Trusted Trader Code of Practice.


If a consumer is unhappy with any work carried out by a member of the scheme, then they need to follow the complaints process detailed below. This is managed by Trusted Directory Services (TDS) and overseen by Trading Standards. If the complaint cannot be resolved, then it may be referred to the schemes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service which is provided by Kent County Council Trading Standards.

However, if the scheme member is also a member of another Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service through a Trade Association or other body, complaints may be referred to that service for independent adjudication.

Trusted Trader complaint process

  • in the event of any dispute or complaint between a member and consumer, both parties should try and resolve the issue directly
  • if the consumer remains unsatisfied, then they must request a copy of the members’s complaint process
  • any details of the complaint or issue needs to be made in writing to the member. This can be either as an e-mail or as a letter. This document will form the basis of the complaint
  • the member must be allowed a chance to respond and offer a solution or resolution to the complaint
  • if the complaint remains unresolved, or communication has broken down, either party may contact TDS with details of the complaint and request assistance
  • TDS will respond to both parties within five working days
  • TDS will consider the complaint, and where appropriate provide a recommendation to attempt to resolve the dispute
  • Trusted Trader members must communicate fully with TDS staff throughout the process of dealing with any dispute
  • any dispute which cannot be resolved by informal means will be referred back to the member, who will send a final deadlock letter. This will set out their final position and any final offer
  • the consumer may accept the deadlock offer or request the case is referred to ADR, details of which will be in the letter, or take action through the civil courts
  • Trading Standards will review any cases that are referred to ADR to ensure suitability, that the complaints process has been followed correctly and confirm informal mediation has been exhausted
  • Trusted Trader members have agreed to handle disputes through the Trusted Trader ADR service and will cooperate with the ADR process
  • disputes which are referred to ADR will be dealt with according to their procedures. More information can be found at ADR is quicker and a free alternative to court, where consumers and businesses can resolve their disputes
  • ADR decisions are binding on members but not on consumers
  • the use of the Kent ADR service is included in Trusted Trader membership and is free for consumers
  • if at any time, the consultation of an independent expert is required, for example for inspection or testing, agreement will be sought from both parties about the arrangement of such a consultation including payment.
  • The ADR process may not be invoked for contracts entered into prior to the member firm gaining full membership of the scheme. However, a member firm or consumer is welcome to use the ADR process to assist in resolving complaints that were formed prior to membership, if both parties are willing. There are fees to be paid, and more information can be found at

Responding to a complaint

  • TDS will ensure every complaint and dispute is investigated impartially
  • members and consumers must fully cooperate with requests for assistance relating directly to the complaint or dispute
  • remember to keep all responses professional and factual
  • if attempts at mediation prove unsuccessful, then the case will be reviewed by Trading Standards who may then instruct escalation to ADR. This will lead to a binding decision for the member.

If you are unhappy with a decision

If you have an issue with the process and procedure of the ADR scheme, then contact details and an escalation point are on the last page of the report that will be sent to you once ADR adjudication has been completed.

If you are unhappy with how a Trusted Trader complaint has been handled or any decision, please address your complaint in writing to:
Suffolk Trusted Trader
Trusted Trader Manager
Trading Standards
Suffolk County Council
Landmark House
4 Egerton Road

Complaints concerning the Suffolk Trusted Trader scheme

If you are unhappy with any aspect of the Suffolk Trusted Trader scheme that falls outside of the scope of Section 8 of the Code of Practice, please address the complaint in writing to the address given above.