The importance of having a complaints-handling procedure

Michael Zuriff

Head of Regulation, Americas (RICS)

As we all know, managing complaints is a key part of doing business and being able to handle complaints in an effective manner may be the difference between keeping and losing a client.

Two businessmen in discussion in front of a laptop

Even more importantly, it may be the difference between settling a disagreement quickly and efficiently, and going through a lengthy and costly legal process.   

Generally speaking, complaints are any expression of dissatisfaction. In order to manage complaints, members should have a Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) in place which explains to their clients how a complaint will be dealt with.  A CHP should have two stages:

  • Consideration of the complaint by a senior member of the company and,
  • A referral to an independent third party that has the authority to award redress. 

Members should utilize their employer’s up-to-date CHP and ensure that clients are aware of the CHP. In addition, firms will want to maintain an up-to-date complaints log.

Sole practitioners are also expected to have an up-to-date CHP in place. They are able to review complaints themselves, however, it is expected that if the complaint is not resolved, it must be referred to an independent third party.

Members that have signed-up for Valuer Registration, as well as RICS Regulated Firms in the Americas region, are expected to utilize an RICS-approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider. JAMS International and ADR Chambers International are the official RICS-approved providers for the region and maintain rosters of highly qualified International Arbitrators and Mediators.  Each organization is well equipped to handle disputes across all of the disciplines and geographies covered by RICS.

As a reminder, RICS will only become involved when there is a failure to respond to a complaint or if the client is prevented from gaining access to an ADR provider.

If you have any questions about complaints handling or anything related to regulation in the Americas, please contact There is also a full suite of information and guidance available on our website at

To submit a complaint regarding an RICS member or firm, please call the RICS Regulation Confidential Helpline at 646-442-4437.

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