Water Services Act 2014

8.

Customer dispute resolution

8. (1) Subject to this section, the Commission shall provide a dispute resolution service to any customer of Irish Water having an unresolved complaint relating to Irish Water and shall publish the procedures and details of this service on its website on the internet.

(2) The Commission shall not provide the dispute resolution service where the complaint—

(a) is or has been the subject of legal proceedings before a court,

(b) is made after the expiration of 6 years from the date on which the cause of the complaint is alleged to have occurred,

(c) relates to a matter that does not concern the functions or objectives of the Commission under the Water Services Acts 2007 to 2014, or

(d) is one to which subsection (4) or (7) relates.

(3) For the purpose of paragraph (b) of subsection (2), a matter of a continuing nature is taken to have occurred at the time when it stopped and conduct that consists of series of acts or omissions is taken to have occurred when the last of those acts or omissions occurred.

(4) A person is not entitled to make a complaint unless—

(a) at the time to which the complaint relates he or she—

(i) was registered with Irish Water as a customer,

(ii) has previously communicated the substance of his or her complaint to Irish Water in writing, and

(iii) has exhausted any complaints procedures provided by Irish Water in accordance with a code of practice approved by the Commission under section 32 of the No. 2 Act of 2013,

and

(b) a final decision on the complaint has been issued by Irish Water to the customer in writing.

(5) A complaint shall be submitted by the customer to the Commission in writing, other than where the Commission considers it appropriate to accept a complaint that is not in writing.

(6) Where the Commission accepts a complaint that is not in writing, it shall reduce the complaint to writing as soon as possible after receiving it.

(7) The Commission may decide not to provide a dispute resolution service in relation to a complaint where the complaint is, in the opinion of the Commission, vexatious or frivolous or not made in good faith.

(8) Irish Water and any customer availing of the dispute resolution service shall comply with all reasonable requests for information by the Commission in carrying out an investigation into a complaint received by the Commission.

(9) The Commission shall notify the customer concerned in writing of the reasons for its decision.

(10) The Commission shall issue a determination to Irish Water in writing regarding its decision on the matter in dispute (including, where appropriate a requirement to pay a refund or compensation, which shall be proportionate).

(11) Where the subject of a complaint impacts on any other customers of Irish Water, then, the Commission in making its determination under subsection (10) may require Irish Water to comply with the determination in respect of those other customers.

(12) Irish Water shall comply with any requirement made of it in a determination under subsection (10).

(13) The Commission shall prepare and submit an annual report to the Minister on—

(a) the number and type of complaints received and their resolution,

(b) any decision by the Commission not to provide a dispute resolution service, and

(c) the service levels provided by Irish Water.

(14) The Commission may publish an annual report it has submitted to the Minister under subsection (13).

(15) The Commission may, in the public interest, publish an outline of any complaint received (other than any personal information relating to the customer).

(16) Costs may not be awarded to a party under this section.

(17) In this section—

“complaint” means a complaint made by a customer of Irish Water to the Commission under this section;

“customer” in relation to a complaint under this section, includes a former customer of Irish Water to whom subsection (4)(a)(i) applies;

“dispute resolution service” means the service provided under subsection (1).