If you have a problem with the service provided by your water company or retailer, to begin with, you should contact your water company and explain to them what the issue is and the steps you want them to take to put things right.

If you cannot resolve the issue over the phone, we recommend that you ask your company to treat the issue as a complaint. At this stage, you may want to put details in writing, either by email or by letter.

Once you have made a complaint, your water company or retailer has 10 working days to provide you with an initial response.

The complaints process


Our tips for making a complaint

  • Be clear that you are making a complaint, not an enquiry.
  • When putting your complaint in writing, be clear about the main issues – it is best to do this using bullet points rather than wordy paragraph
  • Put the events in the order they happened, if you can, provide the company with a timeline.
  • Keep all evidence where possible. This might be bills or letters your company has sent to you, or copies of documents, photographs or other forms of evidence to support your complaint.
  • Be clear about what you expect to be done. What outcome are you aiming for? Do you expect an apology, action such as the company to visit your address to look at a problem, a bill to be revised?
  • Remember to raise all of your points. If you give new information or add a new issue later in the process, the company has the right to consider that separately, as a new complaint, which can delay the issue being resolved.

Companies deal with complaints in two stages, meaning that if you’re not happy with the first response you get, you can ask the company to review its decision. You might hear these two stages called a “stage one complaint” and a “stage two complaint”. This refers to the fact that you’re at the first or the second stage in the company’s complaints procedure.

At both stages of the process, companies must reply to your complaint within 10 working days of receiving it. If they fail to do this, you will be entitled to a compensation payment under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme. If the company knows it is not going to be able to answer all your points within 10 working days it should tell you, explaining the reasons why, and give you a date when it will be able to provide an answer.

How CCW can help if your company doesn’t resolve your complaint

If your company does not resolve your complaint or you are unhappy with the outcome, following your second stage complaint, you can come to CCW for us to look into it for you. We’ll either take it up on against the company of your behalf or explain why what the company has proposed is correct and reasonable.

If you need help accessing the complaints process or making the first or second complaint to your company for any reasons, you can contact us and we’ll help you through those stages.

Contact us

Call us 0300 034 2222* (England), 0300 034 3333* (Wales). *Calls may be recorded

Use our online form,

Send a letter to: CCW, 23 Stephenson Street, Birmingham B2 4BH.

If you remain unhappy after our involvement

If you remain unhappy with the outcome after our involvement, you may be eligible to take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

If you are a household customer, this will be the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS).

This scheme is free and provides an independent decision on disputes against water companies. The decisions WATRS make are binding.

WATRS is only open to you after you exhaust your water company’s

formal written complaint procedure and CCW has been involved. We can assist you with an application to WATRS.

Business customers

Different water retailers are signed up to different ADR schemes. If you are a business customer and remain unhappy with the outcome of your case, your water retailer should be able to give you details of the ADR scheme it uses and how to escalate your case.

If you’re unhappy about how CCW is handling your complaint

In the first instance, let your case handler know so they can try to fix it for you straight away. If your case handler isn’t able to resolve the problem, you can ask for a manager to review it. If you’re not comfortable asking your case worker, you can call us on 0300 034 2222 or email enquiries@ccwater.org.uk. We’ll acknowledge your request for a manager review within one working day. If you would like to talk to a manager about a review, we’ll do our best to transfer you to a manager there and then but if that’s not possible, we’ll arrange for someone to call you back within two working days at a mutually convenient time.

A manager review takes 10 working days to complete, and the manager will discuss the outcome with you directly and follow this up in writing if you wish. If you remain unhappy, once your case has been concluded, you can ask for it to be reconsidered by someone more senior.