Complaints Policy

Making a complaint

Occasionally we might not get things right and our service may fall short of the high standards we normally expect. We take all complaints very seriously and investigate each one promptly and fairly, so we can give each complainant a full and considered response. 

This complaints policy explains what you need to do if you want to make a complaint, and what you can expect from us.

Who can make a complaint?

  • Current Members of the Veterinary Defence Society Limited (including veterinary surgeons and Registered Veterinary Nurses) who hold a Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy or a Policy for Representation Costs in Criminal and Disciplinary Proceedings
  • Prospective Members, former Members or other interested parties acting on behalf of Members of the Society (including veterinary practices, veterinary surgeons, Registered Veterinary Nurses, or other staff associated with a veterinary practice etc) who have interacted with or have held a policy with the Society in the past.

If you are a client of a veterinary practice

The Society is unable to disclose whether a veterinary practice holds cover with us and as our products and services are not available to the general public, we do not deal with complaints arising from clients of veterinary practices. If you are a client of a veterinary practice and you have a complaint, please take the matter up directly with the practice. 

How to complain

Complaints can be made in several ways including (but not restricted to):

  • in person
  • by telephone
    Please call +44 (0) 1565 652737 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. The person you speak to will give their name, so you have a point of contact and you will also be advised of the name of the Company Secretary.
  • in writing by post, email, fax
    Please write to The Company Secretary, The Veterinary Defence Society Limited, 4 Haig Court, Parkgate Estate, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 8XZ.
    Please write to admin@thevds.co.uk marking your email for the attention of the Company Secretary.
    Our fax number is +44 (0) 1565 751079.

To help us to help you

To help us deal with your complaint more effectively, please: 

  • Mark your letter or email ‘Complaint’ and keep a copy
  • Give your full name and full postal address, including postcode
  • Provide a daytime telephone number where we can call you if we need to
  • If you are a Member, please quote your individual membership or practice reference number
  • If you are not a Member, but you are an interested party, please set out details of your interest in the matter and the basis upon which you are contacting us
  • Outline your complaint clearly, including relevant dates. Set out the facts in the order in which they happened, avoiding unnecessary detail and repetition
  • Tell us clearly what you would like us to do as a result of your complaint
  • Enclose copies of documents if these are relevant, keeping the originals
  • Include any further information you think we may need to know.

What happens next?

You can telephone us or write to us to register your complaint. If we are able to resolve your complaint satisfactorily within three working days of receiving your complaint, a written ‘Summary Resolution Communication’ will be provided to you. If we are unable to resolve your complaint within three working days, then we will send you an acknowledgement confirming that we are dealing with your complaint. 

To investigate your complaint, we may need to contact other people and if we need to do this we will seek your written permission. 

After we have investigated your complaint, we will write to you explaining the outcome.

Who will deal with your complaint?

Your complaint will be investigated by an appropriate, responsible person and the process will be overseen by our Risk and Compliance function. If we cannot resolve your complaint straight away, we will provide you with the name of the person investigating the issues you have raised and their telephone number, should you wish to speak to them. 

How long will the investigation take?

We expect to complete our investigation within eight weeks of receiving a complaint, although it may be sooner. We will update you of our progress at four weeks. If we cannot complete our investigation within eight weeks, we will write to you explaining the delay. 

If you are not satisfied with our response at that point,) then you may be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. When we write to you at this stage, we will enclose a leaflet explaining how to do this.

What happens at the end of an investigation?

When we have completed our investigation, we will write to you with a summary of what you have told us, so you can check we have understood your complaint correctly. We will explain our decision, and the reasons for it. Where appropriate, we will include details of any settlement we are prepared to offer. 

What can you do if you are not satisfied with our response?

If you are not satisfied with our decision, you may be able to your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. You will have 6 months from the date of our decision letter to refer your complaint to the Ombudsman or you may lose your right to have your complaint investigated by that Service.

What is the Financial Ombudsman Service?

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an independent complaint resolution scheme. The FOS website recommends that you follow the process above before referring your complaint on to them, although you are able to ask them general questions regarding complaints at any time.

The FOS service is free of charge. Please note that you have 6 months from the date of our final response letter to refer your complaint to FOS.

The Financial Ombudsman Service can be contacted as follows:

Post: The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, Harbour Exchange, London E14 9SR

Telephone: The telephone number is 0800 023 4567 (free from a UK landline) or 0300 123 9123 (calls to this number cost no more than calls to 01 and 02 numbers). Please call +44 (0) 207 964 0500 if calling from outside the UK. 

The lines are available Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm, and Saturdays 9.00am to 1.00pm. 

E-mail: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk 

The Financial Ombudsman Service may not be able to consider a complaint if you have not provided us with the opportunity to resolve it first. 

The Financial Ombudsman Service may not consider complaints from certain types of customers. We would point out that the Ombudsman will only review complaints from "eligible complainants", for which specific definitions apply. You should refer to the FOS for further guidance on this subject.

If you wish to complain about an insurance policy purchased online you may be able to use the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution platform, which can be found here.

Following this complaint procedure does not affect your rights to take legal action.

Feedback

The Veterinary Defence Society welcomes all feedback. Should you have any queries or comments regarding this Complaints Policy, please write to the Company Secretary at the address below: 

The Veterinary Defence Society Limited

4 Haig Court

Parkgate Industrial Estate

Knutsford

Cheshire

WA16 8XZ.