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The Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme Explained

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

14th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 18th Aug 2022) 5 minute read

If you want to make an official complaint against a removal company, then one point of contact is the Removals Industry Ombudsman. If the company’s complaint procedure is unsuccessful, then the RIOS is another channel you can explore.

Here at Compare My Move, all our removal partners are verified and fully insured, so you know you’re working with companies you can trust. Many of our partners are members of the British Association of Removers (BAR), the RIOS and the National Guild of Removers (NGRS). This ensures they have clear and simple complaint procedures that are available to all clients.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What is the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme (RIOS)?
  2. How the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme Operates
  3. How to Make a Complaint
  4. What Complaints Can the Removals Ombudsman Consider?
  5. Benefits of Using a Removals Ombudsman to Resolve Complaints
  6. How to Contact the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme
  7. RIOS Code of Practice
  8. Finding a Trusted Removal Company

What is the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme (RIOS)?

The Removal Industry Ombudsman Scheme was established by the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS). It deals with complaints that are made against removal companies in the UK.

It provides an independent service to resolve disputes between removal companies and their domestic or commercial clients.

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How the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme Operates

To make a complaint, clients must first go through the removal company’s complaints procedure. If this is unsuccessful, the client must then go through the National Guild of Removers & Storers or the RIOS. The Removals Industry Ombudsman will only take on cases within the UK, but free of charge.

The RIOS’ board of directors is chosen by the NGRS and contains at least one member with previous experience in removals. The scheme is managed by an independent committee with an appointed Ombudsman who will handle all complaints.

Removal companies can join the scheme through their membership with participating trade bodies. When comparing removal quotes, ask if they are part of the RIOS.

How to Make a Complaint

Before using the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme, you should first use the removal company’s complaints procedure. If the outcome is unsatisfactory, then you can then make a complaint via the RIOS. However, the company must be a member of the NGRS

To make a complaint, the move must have occurred within the last 12 months. Any complaints past this date will not be considered.

If your complaint is eligible for review, you must complete the scheme’s complaint form and send it to the correct contact details.

For more information, read how to file a complaint against a removal company.

What Complaints Can the Removals Ombudsman Consider?

When reviewing cases, the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme can consider the following complaints:

  • Breaches in contract e.g. excessive charges or below standard services
  • Allegations of unprofessional or inefficient conduct
  • Violations of the Code of Practice of the NGRS
  • Major delays in dealing with complaints

The Removals Ombudsman will not consider the following:

  • Complaints against non-members of the scheme
  • Alleged criminal behaviour
  • Insurance-related matters
  • Complaints that have been or are being dealt with by the Court or another body
  • Complaints regarding house moves that occurred more than 12 months prior

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Benefits of Using a Removals Ombudsman to Resolve Complaints

There are several advantages to using a Removals Ombudsman to file a complaint against a moving company:

  • They will act as a neutral third party to settle an agreement
  • All complaint investigations are free of charge
  • The complaints procedure will be confidential and flexible
  • You’ll be provided with a fair and impartial ruling
  • You can avoid taking costly legal action
  • Clients will potentially be awarded compensation should the case be won

How to Contact the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme

If you’re looking to contact the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme, you can refer to their website’s contact page.

The main email for users is: ombudsman@removalsombudsman.co.uk

RIOS Code of Practice

As the NGRS set up the RIOS, their Code of Practice is the same:

1. Accurate and honest information

Members of the RIOS must ensure that all claims made by the company, whether verbally or in writing, are honest and accurate. This includes marketing materials such as advertisements.

2. An annual inspection of members

Members must give inspectors access to their buildings and paperwork once a year. This will then allow the NGRS and RIOS to assess their suitability for membership.

3. Changes to member’s ownership

If a removal company is sold or changes hands, they must inform the NGRS immediately via a recorded letter.

4. Complaints

All RIOS members must agree to deal with complaints rapidly and courteously. If the complaint is then taken to the scheme, members must agree to provide assistance and the relevant documentation.

5. Avoiding mistakes with estimates/quotations

The removal company must agree to provide accurate written estimates and quotations. They must also include the company’s Terms and Conditions as well as a receipt of acceptance signed by the client.

6. Insurance documents

All inspectors must be provided with proof of the relevant insurance. This includes Goods in Transit, Goods in Storage, Vehicle and Public Liability insurance.

7. Insurance claims assistance

All moving companies must agree to assist clients by quickly forwarding them, insurers or any other parties involved the relevant insurance documents.

8. Insurance information

If a client requests insurance information, all members of the RIOS must agree to provide the correct documentation.

9. Removal supervision/Staff training

Only staff members with adequate knowledge and experience can supervise removals. All surveyors, drivers, packers and porters should also be trained correctly.

10. Spot Checks

Whenever an inspector or a representative of the NGRS visits for spot checks, they must be given complete access to the facilities.

11. Storage

All storage facilities must be weatherproof, clean and secure. Members must also advise their storage clients whether their items should be stored loose or containerised. Clients must be supplied with a detailed and signed inventory that includes notes concerning existing damage.

12. Terms and conditions

A removal company’s Terms and Conditions must be printed alongside or on the reverse of their quotations. The Terms and Conditions must be fair, reasonable and comply with the requirements of the NGRS.

13. Type of work, equipment and maintenance

Members must only undertake work where they have the appropriate expertise and equipment available. Equipment must be maintained to the highest standards and meet the legal requirements.

14. Vehicles

All removal vehicles must meet the Department of Transport’s regulations and the interiors must be kept clean. They must be suitable for the intended purpose and regularly inspected.

When a removal company enters the Compare My Move network, they must also agree to work to our own Code of Practice. This ensures every partner provides high-quality services, putting the needs and well-being of their clients first.

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Finding a Trusted Removal Company

The best way to find a verified, trusted and vetted removal company is to compare quotes via a comparison website like Compare My Move. All of our removal partners are verified by us and reviewed by real users like you.

They must also be put through our strict verification process to ensure they are fully regulated by bodies such as the NGRS and RIOS. This ensures both you and your belongings are protected, with multiple channels of communication available should the worst occur.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.