When we receive your complaint, we’ll check that it appears to be something that we can investigate and that falls within our remit. (For example, if it’s the subject of a legal dispute or investigation by another regulator, we won’t be able to investigate it ourselves. If it relates to something that happened more than three months earlier, we’re not obliged to investigate it.) We will contact you to explain if we intend to take the complaint forward and, if so, how we will do this.
If your complaint is accepted for investigation, we will send details of the complaint to the industry member(s) concerned. In doing so, we will keep your identity confidential (unless you are a competitor or an industry body). The industry member will then have 12 business days to respond. If the industry member fails to furnish information without reasonable justification, we may treat that as a breach of the relevant Enforceable Commitment(s).
Once we’ve heard from the industry member or the time period has passed for them to send us a response, we may seek more information from you, from third parties and/or from the member concerned. We will treat in confidence any genuinely confidential information provided as part of the investigation process, and you and others involved will be expected to honour requests for information to be treated as confidential. In exceptional circumstances, we may invite you and the industry member to present your case orally.
We will let each side comment on the information received and then our Panel will consider the complaint. The Panel takes the decision on whether complaints that have been investigated should be upheld or rejected in whole or in part.
The Panel will initially reach a provisional decision on the issue, giving its reasons, and will provide details of any sanctions that it is minded to impose. This will be communicated to you and the industry member, and you will each have a short period (ordinarily 10 working days) in which to accept, or make representations contesting, the decision and/or the sanction. An industry member may ask to have its case heard orally if the Panel is minded to impose a sanction beyond publication of the decision.
The Panel will then consider any further representations and make its final decision, including on any sanction to be imposed. This will be communicated to you and the industry member. Final decisions (but not provisional decisions) are published on our website.
We may shorten or extend any investigation time limits where appropriate and reasonable, but we anticipate that the process will generally last no longer than three months.
Senet has the power to monitor industry members’ compliance with the Senet Enforceable Commitments. We may conduct test purchasing or audits, and may act as a complainant.
If we receive two or more complaints about an industry member which we reasonably believe relate to the same potential breach of our Enforceable Commitments, we will consolidate these into a single case and will consider any breach as one breach (although the extent of the breach may be relevant to any sanctions imposed).