Signposting and Mediation
In some instances the SBC may not be able to take on your complaint but we will put you in touch with the relevant body to help solve your problem.
The SBC can’t help if you’re currently trying to resolve the problem with legal action, mediation, adjudication or arbitration.
You’ll also need to resolve the problem another way if:
- your customer didn’t pay because they’re unhappy with your price or service
- you’ve already had a legally binding decision about the problem, for example from a court, arbitrator or adjudicator
Public Sector customers
If your customer is in the public sector contact:
- The Public Procurement Review Service if you’re in England
- Supplier Feedback Service in Wales
- Single Point of Enquiry in Scotland
- Information in the Central Procurement Directorate Supplier Charter in Northern Ireland
- If your customer is a supermarket complain to the Groceries Code Adjudicator. To raise an issue with or provide information to the GCA please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also read GCA Guidance on raising issues, and the disputes and escalation process.
- If you’re in the construction industry and not working for a residential occupier, you’re probably covered by the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. Check your contract for what to do in the event of a dispute, or get advice from your professional body
If you’re not sure what’s best in your situation, you can get advice about payment problems by calling the government-backed helpline for England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
Get free local business help from your nearest:
- Local Enterprise Partnership growth hub in England
- Business Gateway office in Scotland
- Business Wales regional centre
- Local Invest Northern Ireland Regional Office
- call your professional or trade organisation to see what help they offer small businesses
If you are a small business with a complaint about a financial product or service provided in or from the UK, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for small businesses.
For information about the Prompt Payment Code contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner who administer the Code on behalf of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Legal action and advice
The legal action you can take includes sending a solicitor’s letter, making a money claim or getting a binding decision from a judge in court.
There are alternatives to court that can give you a legally binding decision or an expert opinion that will help you resolve your dispute. They can sometimes be quicker than court, but they can also be expensive.
- Solicitor’s letter from around £20
- Start a money claim from £25
- Extra costs for going to court
Talk to a solicitor
Talk to a accountant
A professional mediator, agreed on by both of you, can help you to work out a solution.
You can do this before taking other action, or you can pause any legal action you’re taking to mediate.
You can choose when, where and how mediation happens, giving you much more flexibility than, for example, taking someone to court.
Find a mediator
Search for local mediators in:
- England and Wales – use the Ministry of Justice online directory
- Northern Ireland – use the Law Society of Northern Ireland
- Scotland – use the Scottish Mediation Register
If you’re in England or Wales, you’ll be charged on a fixed-fee basis if you mention that you used the Ministry of Justice online directory. This is cheaper than regular mediation fees.
Everyone listed in the Ministry of Justice directory is registered with the Civil Mediation Council and is a professional, experienced mediator.
Find out more about mediation
Take action to prepare your business for new rules from 1 January 2021.
There are actions that your business can take now that do not depend on negotiations with the EU, to prepare for when the UK leaves the Customs Union and Single Market on 31 December 2020. Find out more here and use the transition checker tool to identify the specific steps you need to take to be ready on 1 January 2021.