The Removal Industry Ombudsman Scheme (RIOS) deals with complaints that are made about removals industry businesses. It offers an independent service to resolve disputes between member companies and their clients.
Key facts about RIOS:
- All complaints investigated through RIOS are done so free of charge.
- RIOS is available to UK citizens.
- UK citizens can use the free service to complain about an ongoing problem with either domestic or commercial removals and storage companies who are members of the Ombudsman scheme.
- Ombudsman findings are binding on the removal company, but not on the consumer.
- The current ombudsman is Tony Kaye, who was appointed in June 2015. He is independent of any removal company or organisation.
- The National Guild of Removers and Storers is currently the principal member.
Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme profile:
RIOS offers a way for disputes within the industry to be resolved by an independent body. These disputes can involve both domestic consumers and commercial organisations. The scheme acts as an independent adjudicator, dealing with disputes that cannot be resolved, either between the parties themselves or via another industry body.
There are relatively strict rules on the kinds of complaints that RIOS can and cannot deal with – for example, those complaints that are already the subject of legal action will not be dealt with.
Problems relating to issues such as delays, a failure to provide the service promised, excessive charges over and above what was agreed, or allegations of unprofessional conduct are all within the RIOS remit.
If consumers want to make a complaint this must first be made to the business in question – if it cannot be resolved then it can be transferred to RIOS.
Criteria for membership:
These are not listed on the website but described as a contract that scheme members have to sign which lays down all the criteria. However, most importantly members are governed by a customer friendly code of practice, independent annual inspections, ongoing quality monitoring and their agreement to abide by the rulings of The Ombudsman in disputes with customer.
Sample Member Companies
Opinions about RIOS:
The independence of RIOS is one of the elements that stands out the most when it appears on member websites. Those who mention it do so as a way of providing reassurance that customers have a way of making complaints that don’t necessarily involve only dealing with the business or the industry.
Membership of the RIOS scheme is listed as an accreditation and a way of differentiating businesses from the competition. Membership of RIOS is also described as an indicator that a business conforms to high standards of consumer protection.
The Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme has been established to provide the removals industry with an independent service to resolve disputes between member companies and their clients, both domestic consumers and commercial organisations, if the conciliation service provided by the National Guild of Removers & Storers has not produced a satisfactory conclusion.
There are no laws in the UK about who can set up as a removal business. You, however, need to know that you’re entrusting your home and your treasured possessions to a remover that meets high standards of consumer protection. The best indicator of this is to look for a member of The Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme (RIOS) and only the GUILD insists that all of its members comply with the Ombudsman Scheme’s rules.
Ombudsman Schemes are established to provide customers with an independent and unbiased complaints procedure. The Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme is a full member of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association, alongside the well known Financial Ombudsman Service, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, and 17 other schemes in the UK alone.