Note - the Landlord Law Blog has now moved to www.landlordlawblog.co.uk.
Despite the comments made in my previous post on complaints about the DPS, I have received a few further emails and blog comments outlining further problems with the DPS service. In one of my comments to this post, I mention the complaints procedure which is referred to in the FAQ on the DPS web-site.
However my DPS contact has drawn my attention to the fact that this complaints procedure cannot be used in respect of the arbitration process itself. Some of the problems that people have contacted me about have been regarding the arbitration decision, in particular evidence not being passed on to the arbitrator. My DPS contact told me
"The complaints process does not apply to the ADR decision these are binding on both parties and there is no appeal process. They are made aware of this when they accept the Terms and Conditions. If we receive a complaint about the decision we do check to make sure all the evidence has been included. Often when a case is lost and the decision has been received citing lack of evidence, we receive a claim saying the evidence was sent - there will always be one unhappy party in every case.
The complaints process can be used to complain about the service they have received but not to appeal any ADR decision."
It is an important aspect of the arbitration process that decisions must be accepted as final by both parties. This prevents the process becoming long winded and allows people to move on.
However I can understand the indignation of a landlord or tenant who finds that his case has clearly been decided wrongly. If the decision is one which no reasonable arbitrator could have come to, is it right that it should be allowed to stand? But then on the other hand, how do we know that this is that one in a thousand case which really has been decided wholly unreasonably? Almost every losing party in a case considers that his case was wrongly decided! If one appeal or case re-hearing is allowed, then everyone will want it, and the advantage of the finality of arbitration will be lost.
I think probably the answer is that if the decision does not go your way, there is not much you can do about it, at least as far as changing the decision is concerned. In life one does sometimes come across injustices which we just have to put up with. You just have to do your best to make sure it does not happen again.
However I would suggest that you do at least write and complain about it, and tell the DPS exactly what happened. If a large number of complaints are received on a particular topic this may prompt a change of procedure which could prevent the same problem happening again.
Does anyone else have any ideas or comments on this? Also, the complaints I have received have also been about the DPS service - are people happy with the service from the other two providers?