Notifications for Stakeholders

Do you have a complaint regarding CEPA Certified?
First of all, we are very sorry to hear you’re not happy with things. Our staff team can give you advice before you send in your complaint. A member of our team is always available via

Email: complaint@cepa-europe.org
Post: Complaints, CEPA, 37 Seringenstraat, 1950 Kraainem Belgium
Tel: +32 475 98 91 98

When we first get a complaint we will first check that it:

  • is about a subject and organisation that we can look at
  • has gone through the right complaints process
  • has arrived at our office within 12 months of when the issues in your complaint happened
  • has enough detail and paperwork for us to get to work on it.

Important
We can’t look at complaints:

  • about issues that happened more than a year ago (unless there are special circumstances)
  • about employment, personnel or most contractual matters
  • that have been taken to court or a tribunal
  • against companies not involved in CEP Certified.

Tips on Complaining

You should first tell the organisation with which you are unhappy that you want to complain. This will give them the chance to put things right. All CEPA Certified Certification bodies have in-house complaints procedures. You should go through this before contacting CEPA.

How to complain in writing to the Certification Body

It is helpful to follow the steps below:

  1. Ask for the organisation’s complaints leaflet or procedure.
  2. Clearly mark your letter ‘complaint.’
  3. Make sure you write to the correct member of staff at the right address. Phone the organisation for advice if you’re not sure who to write to.
  4. Keep copies of your letters and the replies you get back. If someone from the company responds to you by telephone, ask them to also put their response in writing.
  5. Most organisations will try to resolve your complaint quickly and at the first point of contact.
  6. If you are unhappy with the reply you get from the organisation, ask them to take it to the next stage of their complaints procedure. If you are not sure how to do this, call them to find out.
  7. Follow all steps in the complaints leaflet or procedure.

Making A Formal Complaint To CEPA

We hope that it will rarely be needed for you to make a complaint against a CEPA-accredited Certifying body but, if you need to do so, then this text explains the process to be followed.

Please note that CEPA has no legal sanction; it is not a court of arbitration and has no powers to enforce a settlement. Thus, while CEPA will use its best endeavours to mediate and resolve a dispute with the aim of achieving an outcome which is reasonably satisfactory to both parties, it cannot enforce one.

STEP 1 – CONTACT THE MEMBER

Problems between client (you) and the Certification Body can arise because of misunderstandings or a breakdown in communication, and can often be resolved by direct discussion with the person concerned. If a phone call to the Certification Body does not solve the issue, please write to the Certification Body concerned setting out the problem. You may also wish to ask for an appointment at the premises where the audit was carried out. Make sure you find out who is the right person to speak to about complaints.

Please note that your contract is between yourself and the Certification Body which issued the contract and so you should approach them initially.

STEP 2 – A FORMAL COMPLAINT

If your own efforts to resolve a grievance directly with the Certification Body have failed, then CEPA may be able to investigate the matter on your behalf and will use its best efforts to resolve things.

You must submit your formal complaint to CEPA in writing, setting out the details of your complaint. The points which need to be covered are shown below. Please note that ‘hearsay’ evidence is not acceptable and cannot be taken into consideration, nor will informal second opinions from any third party, whether a CEPA member or not. Make sure you have gone through step 1 before sending anything to us.

When returning your formal letter of complaint to CEPA, please include copies of all correspondence which has passed between yourself and the Certification Body concerned.

STEP 3 – FORMAL SECOND OPINION

If appropriate, CEPA will arrange for a formal second opinion from a suitably qualified individual. A charge may be made for this service, but we will not do this without your approval.

SUMMARY

CEPA does not have the authority to order a refund or part refund by the Certification Body, irrespective of the outcome of the complaint, particularly if further services have subsequently been purchased from another company. Your local Consumer advice can advise you as to your rights with regard to a refund. Only a court of law has the authority to order any action or payment in connection with a complaint.

Nevertheless, a genuine effort will be made to deal with your problem and achieve a satisfactory solution.

Should your complaint be upheld, this may result in disciplinary action including termination of the Certification Body’s contract with CEPA. Please note that the CEPA complaints procedure may not be used as a precursor to litigation (that is, you can’t use our process to take someone to court).

Most complaints can be resolved by good communication between the client and Certification Body.

  • Communicate with the Certification Body. If this does not resolve the complaint then:
  • Put your grievance in writing to the business in question. If this does not resolve the issue, then:
  • Put your grievance in writing to CEPA enclosing copies of all relevant correspondence. A copy of your letter will be sent to the member concerned asking for their comment. All correspondence will then be considered by the CEPA Certified Technical Committee [NAME?] and appropriate action taken and/or recommendations made.

Points to Be Included In Formal Letter Of Complaint
Please provide as much of this information as you can

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Address (including post code)
  3. Your Daytime telephone number
  4. Your Email Address
  5. How you’d like to be contacted (eg phone, email, letter)
  6. The name, company or business and the address of the Certification Body you are complaining about
  7. The date on which the audit was provided by the Certification Body in question
  8. A brief outline of the procedure carried out by the Certification Body
  9. Whether you have taken up your complaint with the Certification Body

If yes, what happened?
If no, why not?

  • Whether you are currently pursuing litigation against the Certification Body (ie are you going to court over the issue?). If this is the case, we cannot pursue the complaint until the court case has been resolved.
  • The date on which you officially notified the Certification Body of your dissatisfaction
  • The nature of your complaint and what particularly dissatisfied you
  • Details of any losses/damages
  • How you consider that CEPA can best assist you in resolving the problem