If you are still dissatisfied after your complaint has been through the water company procedure and you’ve sought help from CCWater, you may be eligible to take your concerns to the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS).
WATRS is a free and independent resolution scheme which is designed to help the small number of customers who remain unhappy even after CCWater’s involvement.
Its decisions are binding on the water company and for customers it is a cheaper and easier option to pursuing their complaint through the courts or a tribunal.
You will need notification from CCWater before your complaint is eligible to be dealt with through WATRS. The total award for compensation and/or the cost or value of any action or service is up to £10,000 for household customers and £25,000 for non household customers.
Guidance notes are available on the WATRS website or you can ask for a copy to be sent to you by calling 0207 520 3801.
WATRS’ address is:
Water Redress Scheme
70 Fleet Street
What is WATRS?
The Water Redress Scheme, known as WATRS, is an independent decision making scheme for unresolved complaints made by customers against water companies.
The scheme has been established to help customers who remain dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint, after they have been through their water company’s complaint procedure and involved the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).
When can I complain to WATRS?
If you have a complaint you should firstly contact your water company directly who should try to put the matter right. Each company has a complaints procedure which it should provide or offer to you.
If you remain unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can ask CCWater to take up the matter on your behalf. CCWater is a national consumer body set up to protect your interests as a water customer.
If, following CCWater’s involvement, you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can then apply to WATRS to make an independent and binding decision on your complaint. But you must have referred your complaint to CCWater before you can apply to WATRS.
What type of complaint can be referred to WATRS?
Only disputes relating to the following apply:
- Bills, payments, collections and debt recovery
- Water supply services
- Wastewater/sewerage services
- Development and new supplies
You can read some examples of cases WATRS has considered and the outcomes here.
Will it cost me to take my complaint to WATRS?
No, it is free of charge for customers.
What powers does WATRS have?
Decisions made by WATRS are binding on water companies but not on customers. That means if you disagree with WATRS’ decision, you are still free to pursue legal action against your water company through the courts.
If WATRS supports your complaint, it will decide what action the company must take, including carrying out work or paying compensation for loss or damage. This can be up to a maximum of £10,000 per customer for households and £25,000 for commercial customers.
However some complaints may not be eligible for this scheme and, where this is the case, WATRS will provide you with an explanation.
How long will it take for WATRS to reach a decision?
WATRS aims to make its decision within 20 working days of receiving your application. If you accept WATRS decision, your water company will usually have 20 working days to provide the remedy set by the scheme.
What if I have further questions about WATRS?
You can find out more at WATRS website www.watrs.org or by calling 0207 520 3801. You can access guidance notes, a guide to compensation for inconvenience and distress and the scheme rules here, or contact WATRS to be sent copies of the documents.