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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Blog update

I will be out of action for about a week so no updates to the blog until next Tuesday (or thereabouts) unless, of course, life gets exciting again.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Fletcher EQR - Customer Complaints Policy

Fletcher/EQR have also put their Customer Complaints Policy on the website. Dated the 10th of April 2012, it is a short statement of the principles involved.

At this stage it lacks detail on aspects that may become very important at the time e.g. if the complaint relates to quality of materials, choice of technology or method, or workmanship, will work stop on the house until the complaint is resolved?

If the answer is no, then a couple of days activity may hide the evidence, or have allowed work to progress so far that there is widespread reluctance to undo what has been done and start again.

The customer's right to seek independent advice or assistance (see below) may also run into the same problems of continued activity hiding the problem or progressing beyond some point of economic no-return. The customer may be faced by aggressive opposition by sub-contractors (or sub-sub-contractors) outside EQR's direct control. How will this be handled if EQR have no direct relationship with the business that is the focus of the problem? How fast can EQR respond to complaints?

Should a customer pursue the option of advice or assistance, what stance will EQR take on the advice obtained? If there is a difference of opinion between EQR and the independent advice, who will be the independent adjudicator and can they make a binding decision?

Some guidance is needed for customers as to the independent advice and assistance that is available, not just professionals in the field but also to the Christchurch City Council regarding compliance (if it is thought to be non-compliant), the Department of Building and Housing, and EQC if it is considered there is a breach of the customer's entitlements under the EQC Act.

From the policy statement (full document here).
Your rights as a Fletcher EQR customer
You have the right:
  • To be treated with courtesy, respect and fairness at all times.
  • To have access to information about your repair.
  • To provide feedback or raise a complaint if you are unhappy about the service provided.
  • To seek independent advice or assistance if you are not satisfied with Fletcher EQR’s resolution of your complaint.

Fletcher/EQR - Customer services statement

Fletcher/EQR have placed a Customer Services Statement on their website. The document, dated the 10th of April 2012, outlines the policy of the company with regard to the repairs they will be responsible for, on behalf of EQC.

The gist of the one page document is:
What you can expect from Fletcher EQR:
  1. Project management of high quality repairs, undertaken by independent contractors, who have completed our accreditation process;
  2. Quality assurance to ensure works and materials meet required standards;
  3. Compliance with the building codes and consenting requirements, and obtaining code compliance certificates for the work where applicable; 
  4. Programming contractors, consultants and other procurement to complete repairs in a timely fashion;
  5. Paying contractors, suppliers and consultants on behalf of EQC;
  6. Screen contractors and suppliers to ensure quality standards can be met;
  7. Obtain expert advice, where required, from engineers, architects, designers and other consultants;
  8. Provide the opportunity to comment on all aspects of our service by contacting us at any time;
  9. Prompt, helpful and friendly response to telephone and e-mail enquiries, normally within two working days;
  10. Provide regular news updates on our website to keep you informed of all our latest guidance in all areas;
  11. Make an initial response to complaints within one working day.
It is interesting to see, in points 9 and 11, that time standards are set for responding to enquiries and especially complaints. I wonder what the internal accountability systems are for meeting these are?

Point 8 seems the closest they can come to discussing what customers want - which may fall short of being able to agree on a range of things from materials to methods. Always in the background is the need for a mutually convenient time for repairs to take place. The various things that happen in families, and the difficulties of finding accommodation if you have a big family, or animals or whatever, means the practice of "be out in week or go to the bottom of the pile" needs to be tackled.

The Customer Services Statement, and other policy statements, can be found here.