Complaints.

What can I complain about?

If you have had a bad experience with a service or product, you can usually complain about it. Depending on the nature of the incident, there is likely to be a complaints procedure you need to follow. If you’re not sure who to complain to or how to start a complaint, then we are happy to guide you - just email us.

For complaints about external consumer issues, we strongly recommend that you start by checking the Citizens Advice Bureau’s consumer page. They are also very helpful on the phone.

However, if you want to talk about a university issue or just want to talk to someone from the SU, at the Advice Centre we can:

  • Help you find the relevant complaints procedure
  • Guide you through the complaints procedure
  • Advise you on how to gather and present evidence
  • Check your complaints before you present them
  • Advocate for you if necessary/possible
  • Guide you through an appeal if you don’t get a satisfactory outcome
  • Refer/signpost you to external specialists
  • Help you plan next steps following the complaint

Complaints usually start with an informal email direct to the person or service you want to complain about, outlining the problems and your desired outcomes. If you are not satisfied with the response to your informal complaint, or if you’re unable to obtain a response, then you can go through the relevant formal complaints procedure.

You will normally be required to prove that you’ve attempted informal resolution before your formal complaint is accepted.

You can find guidance about how to make complaints at uni on the RHUL complaints page.

You will normally be required to prove that you’ve attempted informal resolution before your formal complaint is accepted.

RHUL Complaints

At the SU Advice Centre, we’re here if you need support with complaints. Some examples of complaints we help students with:

  • Academic complaints
  • Halls, e.g. maintenance issue not satisfactorily dealt with, problems with security etc.
  • Professional/Student Services e.g. taking too long to respond to requests, admin errors etc.
  • Fees – e.g. being mischarged, given incorrect information etc.
  • Employment – e.g. problems whilst volunteering or working for the university

The possible outcomes of a complaints procedure can vary greatly. This can depend on:

  • if you have grounds for a complaint under the process
  • the amount of evidence you have
  • other factors impacting your case
  • the timing of your complaint
  • the quality of your complaint

While we encourage you to be independent and figure things out for yourself, if you’re not a seasoned complainer, we advise you to send us your complaint to check over. People are often upset when writing complaints, meaning they can be unclear or too aggressive, which won’t help.

Below is a list of the range of outcomes we have seen; more than one outcome can be obtained.

  • Complaint not upheld
  • Complaint partially upheld
  • Apology issued
  • Explanation issued
  • Refund/partial refund issued
  • Monetary compensation issued
  • Policy/process change
  • Service improvements
  • Product improvements

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) runs a free, independent and impartial scheme to review student complaints. RHUL is a member of the Scheme and if you are unhappy with its final decision about your complaint/appeal/misconduct case etc, you may be able to complain to the OIA.

You normally need to have completed RHUL’s internal complaints/appeal process before you complain to the OIA. RHUL will send you a letter called a “Completion of Procedures Letter” (COP letter) when you have reached the end of the relevant internal processes and there are no further steps you can take internally. You will have 12 months to complain to the OIA, normally from the date the COP Letter was issued. This is a strict deadline and it’s worth remembering that the longer you wait to complain to the OIA, the more difficult it can become to put things right.

You can find more information about making a complaint to the OIA, what it can and can’t look at, and what it can do to put things right on the OIA website or by contacting advice@su.rhul.ac.uk.

Get in touch with the OIA:

OIA logo: 'office of the independent adjudicator' in black text next to 'OIA' in white text on a square magenta background