The Retail Ombudsman is no more

Former “Ombudsman” loses the right to use respected title

Reblogged from

Mannequins clothes on in shop text The Tretail Ombudsman is no more
Here’s why

The Retail Ombudsman loses title

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”.

The Retail Ombudsman resigns from the Ombudsman Association

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 on using the “Ombudsman” title

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.

The ADR/Ombudsman landscape

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.

Comment on the ADR situation

Marcus Williamson, the editor of consumer information website, 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.

About Dean Dunham

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 has a Sunday Mirror column.

Westminster Business Forum seminar Next steps for consumer protection in the UK – dispute processes, enforcement and the consumer markets green paper. 15/11/18

Presentation. Alternative Dispute Resolution – approval and oversight in the loosest possible sense of the words…

Alternative Dispute Resolution - approval and oversight in the loosest sense of the words...


Update 21st July 2017

Statement on The Retail Ombudsman by the Ombudsman Association

Update 23 August 2018

Landing in court with Ryanair the latest including failures in AviationADR, Which? and The Independent reports on CDRL which runs these schemes.

Ombudsman/ADR reports

June 2017 Ombudsman Omnishambles Serious unresolved issues affecting
the operation of the ombudsman ADR system in the UK

February 2018 More Ombudsman Omnishambles The UK ADR Landcsape 20 months on 


Companies House rules on use of Ombudsman title
(see paragraph 1.86)

TRO members list

TRO staff numbers and retail members

Companies formerly run by Dean Dunham

Accounts for Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited, trading as The Retail Ombudsman

The Retail Ombudsman brochure for retailers


Share this

By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

One reply on “The Retail Ombudsman is no more”

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *