The Retail Ombudsman is no more

Former “Ombudsman” loses the right to use respected title

Reblogged from http://ceoemail.blogspot.com

The Retail Ombudsman (TRO) is no more. The private company, set up in 2015 to
provide dispute resolution for consumers, has lost the right to use the respected
title of “Ombudsman”.

TRO has resigned from the Ombudsman Association (OA), its trade body, for reasons
that remain unclear. The resignation means that it is no longer allowed to use the
“Ombudsman” title. The company is in the process of dropping the title during the
course of this week and will now operate as a provider of alternative dispute
resolution (ADR) services, outside of the ombudsman system.

Companies House rules stipulate that companies using the “Ombudsman” title must be
members of the OA. The OA seeks to ensure the quality of its members through a
periodic revalidation process. However, rather than complete the recent
revalidation process, TRO resigned just as that process was concluding. Neither
the OA nor TRO would comment on the circumstances which have caused the
resignation.

Privately-run ombudsman services have been a feature of the consumer landscape in
the UK for several years. However, the system has been criticised for being
difficult to use, lacking transparency and not having a single point of contact
for consumers. Many of the largest high-street retailers, including ASDA, Tesco
and Morrisons, had refused to co-operate with TRO, preferring to use their own
internal complaints process or another ombudsman or ADR scheme.

The appointment, regulation and management of private-sector ombudsmen is
fragmented, dealt with through a complicated combination of the Department for
Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Chartered Trading Standards
Institute (CTSI), the Ombudsman Association (OA) and Companies House. BEIS would
not comment on TRO’s loss of ombudsman status, instead deferring to the Companies
House press office, who in turn have not provided any substantive comment.

Marcus Williamson, the editor of consumer information website CEOemail.com, who
has been monitoring private ADR since 2014, said: “The behaviour of TRO – in
resigning during the OA revalidation process – demonstrates once again that a
retail ombudsman role is too sensitive to be handled by the private sector. It is
time that retail was given a government-run ombudsman system, in a similar way to
the financial sector.”

Williamson – who co-authored the June 2016 report Ombudsman Omnishambles with
Helen Dewdney – suggested that TRO’s management had made a number of fundamental
errors of judgement in its 2 1/2 years of operation. This included, he noted,
employing a convicted criminal as its communications director and having as
ombudsman an individual who had breached the Companies Act on multiple occasions.
Williamson believes that OA and CTSI should insist on a “fit and proper person”
test prior to allowing any individual to take on an ombudsman role.

The Retail Ombudman had been run by Dean Dunham, a solicitor, former restauranteur
and former celebrity lawyer, who established TRO in early 2015. He claimed to have
15,000 retail companies as members of TRO and 100 staff, although the company’s
accounts filed at Companies House do not support these figures. He also had a
regular slot on the London-based LBC talk radio channel, offering consumer advice,
and a Sunday Mirror column.

Update 21st July 2017 Statement on The Retail Ombudsman

References

Companies House rules on use of Ombudsman title
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporation-and-names/annex-a-sensitive-words-and-expressions-or-words-that-could-imply-a-connection-with-government
(see paragraph 1.86)

TRO members list
https://www.theretailombudsman.org.uk/tro-list/

TRO staff numbers and retail members
https://www.theretailombudsman.org.uk/why-the-retail-ombudsman-is-the-best-adr-choice-for-small-retailers/

Ombudsman Omnishambles report
http://ceoemail.com/ombudsman-omnishambles.pdf

Companies formerly run by Dean Dunham
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/yEuzy-BYjZK6erw9hbUGFZ1Y4SU/appointments

Accounts for Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited, trading as The Retail Ombudsman
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09189773/filing-history

Contact at the OA
Nick Bennett, Chairman of the OA
Nick.Bennett@ombudsman-wales.org.uk

Contact at TRO
Dean Dunham, former ombudsman
dean.dunham@theretailombudsman.org.uk

Contact for this press releae

Marcus Williamson
Email: marcus@connectotel.com

 

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1 Response to The Retail Ombudsman is no more

  1. Mr G Smith says:

    Well, Well, Well! Mr Dean Dunham at it again. When will somebody unveil the real Dean Dunham and stop his riduculous self promotion which makes a complete nonsense of the legal system and leaves a trail of destruction in its path. Dean Dunham is by all intent and purpose a con man. A self-dillusionist. A man who has left a trail of people in financial ruin. He craves publicity at any cost and as a result he believes he is a star in his own right. What he has actually successfully achieved is to use the legal system to promote his many personas. This has drawn in many people who are or have been successful in their own right. He then rides off the back of their name. Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli, Freddie Starr, Bucks Fizz are just some. There are many others who have never been household names but have been drawn in by Dean Dunham, used and then discarded, usually out of pocket or worse. The irony is is that he uses his law qualification to not only gain positions of trust but when inevitably it all goes wrong, he then uses it to threaten people if they dare challenge him in any way what so ever. His father Paul is in an American prison for fraud. Dean Dunham – protected by one of his many limited companies, was the company secretary throughout the period of this fraud. Is that where he got his ‘millions’? – or is that too just another figment of his imagination? Your link to Ombudsman-Omnishambles refers to classic Dean Dunham practices – 100 staff and 15,000 members and no evidence to back up the claim – not knowing he was the Director of a company and blaming someone else for its demise. Dunham Law, Dunham Move, Dunham Business Transfer, Lot 67, Dunham Airlines etc etc are just a few of the many companies he has set up and then closed leaving many people out of pocket (Your link only shows a few of his directorships) They have all been wiped off the internet to be replaced by Debello Law and The Retail Ombudsman. Lawyer to the stars. On radio and TV talking about scams. The irony is that the biggest scammer of all is Dean Dunham and very soon you will get a call from Debello Law demanding that you take this post down and wanting my contact details so they can sue me. Perhaps it is time for someone to speak out and stop Mr Dunham from abusing the very institutions that people in the UK should be able to trust.

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