This feedback service is designed to provide open and independent feedback from genuine customers of the firms of solicitors reviewed. The terms set out what customers can expect when submitting a review, and provides information on the policy of publishing reviews (good and bad). It also shows how the service is independently audited to ensure the reviews and ratings are genuine and can be trusted.
1. The customer feedback and ratings service (Service) is hosted and operated by Quality Solicitors Organisation Ltd (QSO) who run a network of quality-checked firms of lawyers (Firms). Only Firms who have passed the comprehensive and ongoing QSO quality assessment are then permitted to trade using the QualitySolicitors branding.
2. QSO is independent of the Firms using the QS branding and therefore takes very seriously its role in completing quality assessments and Audits of the Firms.
3. QSO is very grateful to customers of the Firms for taking the time to complete the customer feedback survey (Survey) to provide both ratings and comments (Reviews).
4. By submitting a completed Survey, the customer consent to their Review being audited by QSO and then being Used by the Firm (or QSO on the Firm’s behalf) for both staff training and Marketing Purposes in an Anonymised format:
4.1 Used means that the customer’s Review is submitted on the basis that the customer has granted the Firm (and QSO on behalf of the Firm) a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, transferable right and license to Publish, copy, modify, translate and/or sell and/or distribute the Review in an Anonymised format without payment or compensation; this includes the right to sublicense or assign the Review, or any part of it, and to use it for Marketing Purposes.
4.2 Marketing Purposes means the publishing of the comments or average ratings taken from Reviews by the Firm or QSO for promotional purposes in any form, medium or technology throughout the world (Publish).
4.3 Anonymised means the presentation of the customer’s details in the format: initials of first name and surname then town. For example: “A.C. of Portishead”. Neither QSO nor the Firm will release or Publish any customer’s personal contact details.
5. The Firm’s customers are asked to return their completed paper Surveys to the Firm (usually the Firm will provide a pre-paid envelope for this purpose). The Firm should then input all completed paper Surveys received by them onto the online system provided to them by QSO within one calendar month of receipt.
6. All completed Surveys relating to the Firm are compiled on the same online system provided to the Firm by QSO. All paper Surveys are inputted by the Firm in accordance with clause 5. Online Surveys automatically compile in the same system when submitted by the customer. Once a Survey appears in the online system the Firm can consider and Validate it in accordance with clause 7.
7. A Firm should consider each Survey within one calendar month of receipt, checking whether it has been submitted by genuine customer and is suitable to be Published (Validated). The process of a Firm considering if each Survey received can be Validated is subject to independent Audit by QSO in accordance with clause 14. The criteria for Validation are at clause 8.
8. QSO’s policy is that only genuine customer Reviews (comments and ratings) taken from Surveys that are suitable for publication should be Published. Therefore Surveys that breach this policy should be excluded by the Firm and not be Published. The criteria by which Firms should consider whether each Survey should be Validated is that a Survey should be excluded in the following circumstances:
8.1 Not genuine – A Survey will be excluded if the Firm cannot Validate it as being submitted by a genuine customer of the Firm
8.2 Language – A Survey will be excluded if it doesn’t use family-friendly language or it is abusive, defamatory, threatening, offensive, obscene or it deliberately intends to provoke an angry response from others.
8.3 Duplicate – A Survey will be excluded if it is duplication – the same customer providing more than one Survey within a short period of time about the same legal service.
8.4 Illegal – A Survey will be excluded if it is considered that publication may break the law or regulations for reasons such as confidentiality, defamation, slander, contempt of court, encourages illegal activity or violation of intellectual property rights.
8.5 False – A Survey will be excluded if it is considered to contain false or misleading claims or is deceptive or fraudulent.
9. A Firm may only Publish a Review (comments and ratings) after it has been Validated in accordance with the criteria at clause 8.
10. It is for the Firm to decide whether to Publish its Validated Reviews. QSO is not liable in any way to the Firm for any consequence of the Firm’s decision to Publish. The forms in which a Firm can Publish its Reviews include:
- A star ratings score (out of 5) of the average rating for the overall performance out of all Validated Reviews of the Firm or for a team over a period of time
- A score (% or out of 10) of the average rating for the number of customers who would recommend the firm or team out of all Validated Reviews of the Firm or for a team over a period of time.
- Selected individual comments and testimonials.
- A live feed of all Validated Reviews (using the “overall service” comments – where supplied).
11. Where the Firm has decided to Publish all Validated Reviews (perhaps as a live feed or of the average ratings of all Validated Reviews), the Firm is required to include complaints. That is, where a genuine customer’s Review contains a complaint about the Firm’s service (Complaint). However the Firm should not Publish a Complaint where it cannot be Validated in accordance with the criteria for Validation at clause 8 where it fails to be either:
- from a genuine customer, or
- suitable for publication
12. Where a Complaint is raised in a Review, the Firm should contact the customer privately and investigate the Complaint under its usual complaints procedure. Where the Firm is Publishing Reviews in the live feed form, QSO will give the Firm a right to reply to the Complaint. The Firm’s response will appear adjacent to the customer’s Review.
13. When a Review is published, it is on the basis that Reviews are the personal and subjective opinions of the customer. Opinions expressed are those of the customer and neither QSO nor the Firm endorses those opinions.
13.1 If anyone sees a Review that has been Published that they do not think complies with QSO’s policy at clause 8, then they are invited to report the Review to our feedback team so they can investigate it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
13.2 QSO reserves the right to remove a Review at any time for any reason.
14.QSO will, from time to time as it feels necessary, protect the reputation of the QualitySolicitors brand and ensure the credibility of this Service by undertaking an independent audit of the processes set out in these terms and conditions (Audit).
14.1 To enable Audits to be carried out by QSO, Firms must retain and make available to QSO on its request all completed paper Surveys for 24 months. After that they may be destroyed.
14.2 Whilst completed online Surveys will be immediately visible to the Firm and QSO, their data cannot be deleted by the Firm and remains available for Audit by QSO. After a period of 24 months the data may be deleted by QSO.
14.3 An Audit by QSO may include a comparison between a Firm’s paper and online Surveys, to ensure there is no discrepancy suggesting that not all paper Surveys have been inputted by the Firm.
14.4 An Audit by QSO may include reviewing some or all of the Firm’s decisions on whether to Validate Surveys as being from genuine customers and suitable to be Published. The Firm shall provide QSO with such information about Validation decisions as reasonably requested. QSO has the authority to override the Firm’s decision, where in its judgment this is appropriate.
14.5 An Audit by QSO may include a review of whether the Firm has wrongly sought to exclude a Survey containing a Complaint by incorrect application of the Validation criteria given at clause 8. QSO has the authority to override the Firm’s decision, where in its judgment this is appropriate.
15. Where, as a result of conducting an Audit, QSO considers that a Firm has failed the Audit or has seriously and/or constantly breached these terms and conditions then QSO has the authority to remove (or require the removal) of all of the Firm’s Published Reviews (comments and ratings) so that (in as far as is possible) they cannot be seen by the public.
16. These terms and conditions of this Service shall prevail in the event of any conflict or inconsistency with any other communications, including advertising or promotional materials.
17. These terms and conditions replace all previous versions, are correct as of 7 November 2017 and shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales, and any disputes will be decided only by the English and Welsh courts.