Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 29 Mar 2018
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint about a £50 refund that was given to the complainant in error and about general delay. This is because the complainant does not have to repay the £50 and there is insufficient injustice to warrant investigation.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains that the Authority gave him a £50 refund in error. Mr X also complains of delay. Mr X wants an apology and £400 compensation.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if we believe the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and the Authority’s responses. I considered Mr X’s previous complaint to the Ombudsman and comments he made in response to a draft of this decision.
What I found
- Mr X complained about the Authority’s response after he reported an incident with a member of staff. In particular he complained of delay. The Authority had awarded £150 in compensation. The Authority agreed to our recommendation to pay another £150 to Mr X. Mr X received £300 compensation.
What happened – current complaint
- Mr X asked for a refund on his travelcard. Mr X estimated he was owed £47. The Authority gave Mr X a £50 refund. Mr X later found out that the refund had been made in error and he was not entitled to it. Mr X says the Authority lied to him about this issue and delayed responding to prevent him complaining to the Ombudsman.
- I have checked with the Authority and established that Mr X does not to repay the £50. The Authority apologised to Mr X for the error.
- Mr X has also complained about delays in relation to the incident with the member of staff. He also complains the Authority does not always respond within the advertised timescales.
- I will not start an investigation because there is insufficient evidence of injustice. This is because Mr X received £50 in error which he does not have to repay. He has also received an apology from the Authority. Mr X has benefited from the Authority’s error and there is no reason to start an investigation.
- Mr X complains of delayed responses by the Authority. Some of the replies may have been outside the advertised timescales but this does not represent an injustice which requires an investigation by the Ombudsman. In addition, some of Mr X’s comments relate to his previous complaint to the Ombudsman which has already been closed and for which he has already received additional compensation.
- Mr X has expressed dissatisfaction with many aspects of his communications with the Authority. However, I have not seen anything which requires another investigation by the Ombudsman.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman