If an owner has contacted the VCMS, it is clear that they remain unhappy and motivated to pursue their complaint further.
As a practice, you may have provided a full and clear explanation or response to the issues raised, however the owner has either misinterpreted, misunderstood or not accepted the response. You and the owner have therefore reached an impasse. At that stage, an owner will either take no further action but remain aggrieved or they will escalate the complaint.
Mediation can focus on why the response has not resolved matters for the owner. The process will try to help the resolution manager and in turn, the practice, to understand the remaining issues and to deal with any misinterpretation.
If an owner refuses to accept the explanation, mediation can explore why and using mediation techniques, we can start to re-gain trust and perspective so that owners can consider the response and make a more informed decision.
The process will also involve a ‘weighing up’ of the risks and benefits of escalating the complaint further. The VCMS will not provide advice to either party, but we will help parties to understand what is involved in escalating a complaint beyond mediation, and help a more informed and balanced decision to be made.
Discussing the complaint with an impartial and non-judgmental resolution manager can reveal some previously undisclosed triggers or issues – i.e. an owner sharing how a comment was interpreted or misunderstood. These issues can then be addressed, allowing the complaint to then move forward.
If mediation concludes without an agreement, then either party is free to take any escalation action appropriate – civil claim, raising a concern with the RCVS or, on the part of the practice, start debt recovery action.