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Complaints procedure

Complaints procedure for Business.gov.nl

This information has been made available by the partners of Business.gov.nl: Ondernemersplein.nl, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KvK), Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst).

Introduction

From legislation to tax regulations, and subsidies to sector information, you will find government and semi-government information necessary for entrepreneurship on Business.gov.nl. Everything in one online location, leaving you more time to do business. That is what entrepreneurs want. And that is what the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, together with the partners of Business.gov.nl, wants to offer you. Because we welcome any suggestion for improvement, you can reach us through our contact page. You can let us know what needs to be better or what is missing. If you are not happy with the service on or by Business.gov.nl you can contact us either by regular mail or e-mail with your complaint. In your letter, you can describe your complaint, if possible with the name of the organization and/or employee involved or the topic or name of the regulation it applies to. We will first invite you to speak with us and we will try to resolve the problem in this way. If this does not prove satisfactory, or if you do not want to deal with your complaint informally, we will treat your complaint as a formal one and you will receive a written reply from us. You will find the steps to take and rules to follow in this complaints procedure.

Article 1. Definitions

In this procedure, the terms are defined as follows:

a. Business.gov.nl: a digital platform initiated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy together with its Cooperating Partners offering entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs access to information from and transactions with different levels and organizations of government and other public and private organizations broadly speaking;

b. Cooperating Partners: the organizations which, in their customer service, give access to Business.gov.nl:

- Netherlands Chamber of Commerce,

- Netherlands Enterprise Agency,

- Answers for Business,

- Dutch Tax and Customs Administration,

- Statistics Netherlands,

- Netherlands Vehicle Authority,

- Employee Insurance Agency;

each individually to be called a Cooperating Partner hereafter;

c. Complaint: every announcement of dissatisfaction about a behaviour, action or omission, error, vagueness and/or incompleteness of substantive information;

d. Complaint Handler: the employee with the concerned Cooperating Partner who deals with the Complaint and who, if the Complaint concerns an employee behaviour, was not involved in this behaviour.

Article 2. Right of complaint

In view of chapter 9 of the Dutch General Administrative Law Act (Algemene Wet Bestuursrecht, AWB), anyone has the right to file a Complaint with a governing body about the way in which a governing body has treated him/her or someone else in a specific circumstance. This procedure serves as a supplement to the stipulations of chapter 9 of the General Administrative Law Act.

Article 3. Fair treatment

Each Cooperating Partner, or the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the concerned Cooperating Partners together as referred to in article 5, is responsible for the fair treatment of oral and written Complaints about its behaviour and the behaviour of employees working under its responsibility.

Article 4. Filing a Complaint

1. A Complaint may be filed either through regular mail or e-mail.

2. A Complaint must contain at least:

a. the name, telephone number and address of the Complainant;

b. the date; and

c. a description of the Complaint and/or behaviours giving rise to the Complaint.

3. If the Complaint is formulated in a foreign language and a translation is needed for the fair treatment of the Complaint, the person filing it is responsible for a translation into Dutch.

Article 5. Complaint Handler

1. If the Complaint concerns only one of the Cooperating Partners as named in article 1b and/or the content placed on Business.gov.nl by this particular Cooperating Partner, then the Complaint Handler of this specific Cooperating Partner will in principle take care of the Complaint according to the stipulations in this regulation.

2. If the Complaint relates to behaviours by several Cooperating Partners together, or to content placed on Business.gov.nl by several Cooperating Partners together, and/or introductory, generic content on Business.gov.nl, then the settlement of the Complaint will in principle take place on behalf of the Minister of Economic Affairs by the Complaint Handler of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, in consultation with the concerned Cooperating Partners.

Article 6. Forwarding obligation

1. If a Complaint is received by a Cooperating Partner but another Cooperating Partner is authorized to handle the Complaint as referred to in article 5 paragraph 1, then the Cooperating Partner having received the Complaint forwards the Complaint directly to the relevant Cooperating Partner, at the same time informing the Complainant hereof.

2. The Complaint Handler sends the Complaint that is not intended for it or one of the Cooperating Partners or the Cooperating Partners collectively, and that will not be forwarded, back to the Complainant as quickly as possible and with reasons.

Article 7. Supplementary provisions

1. If a Complaint has been filed orally or through social media and does not comply with the terms stipulated in article 4 paragraph 1 and article 4 paragraph 2, the Complaint Handler will allow the Complainant the opportunity to resubmit the Complaint within two weeks according to the conditions in this agreement.

2. If a Complaint submitted orally has not been submitted in written form before the end of the term mentioned in paragraph 1, or if a written Complaint does not after the end of the term mentioned in paragraph 1 comply with the stipulated conditions, then the obligation to follow this procedure ceases to apply, with the exclusion of article 3, which remains applicable without exception.

Article 8. Confirmation of receipt

1. The Complaint Handler confirms the receipt of a Complaint within two weeks after receipt by telephoning the Complainant with the intention of settling the Complaint informally.

2. If the informal settlement of the Complaint as referred to in paragraph 1 leads to contentment on the side of the Complainant, or if it does as soon as the Complainant’s grievance is dealt with effectively, then there is no further application of this regulation.

3. If the informal settlement of the Complaint as referred to in paragraph 1 has not resulted in contentment on the side of the Complainant, then the Complaint will be dealt with formally by the Complaint Handler.

The Complainant will receive written notification and will be offered the opportunity to be heard or to forgo the opportunity.

Article 9. No obligation to deal with Complaint

1. There is no obligation to deal with the Complaint if the Complaint concerns an action:

a. that has previously been subject of a Complaint that has been dealt with according to this regulation;

b. that has taken place more than a year before the Complaint was filed;

c. that the Complainant could have objected to;

d. that the Complainant can appeal against, unless the behaviour consists in not making a decision in a timely fashion, or if an appeal can be lodged against it;

e. which, as a result of having initiated a lawsuit will be judged by a legal organization other than an administrative court, or has been judged likewise;

f. as long as there is a criminal investigation by order of the prosecuter or a prosecution, or if the behaviour is part of the investigation into or prosecution of a criminal offence and in respect of that fact there is a criminal investigation by order of the prosecuter or a prosecution being carried out.

2. Examination of the Complaint is not required if the interests of the Complaint and/or the gravity of the action appear insufficient.

3. The Complainant will be informed in writing as soon as possible and at the latest within four weeks of not pursuing the Complaint of the reason for this. He/she will be notified of the possibility of requesting an investigation with the National Ombudsman within one year of the date of the notification.

Article 10. Formal handling and hearing

1. The Complainant and the person against whom the Complaint is filed will have the chance to be heard.

2. The Complainant may not be heard if

a. the Complaint does not meet the requirements of articles 4 and 7;

b. the Complaint is unfounded;

c. the Complainant (by telephone or in writing) has declared that they do not want to make use of the right to be heard; or

d. the Complainant does not declare within a reasonable term, as set by the handler of the Complaint, that he/she wants to make use of the right to be heard.

3. The person filing the Complaint can seek someone else to represent or help him or her. If someone else attends the hearing on behalf of the person filing the Complaint, this person must show a written authorization, unless the representative is a lawyer.

4. There will be a report made of the hearing.

Article 11. Handling term

1. The Complaint Handler deals with the Complaint within six weeks after receipt.

2. The handling of the Complaint can be adjourned for at most four weeks. The person filing the Complaint will be notified in writing of the adjournment as will the person whose behaviour it applies to.

3. Further delay of the handling of the Complaint is possible insofar as the Complainant agrees with this.

Article 12. Written handling

Complaints dealt with in writing contain a description of the Complaint, if applicable a copy of the report of the hearing, a notification with reasons of the findings of the inquiry into the Complaint, the verdict and the possible conclusions ensuing from it. There is also notification of the fact that within one year of the date a petition may be sent to the National Ombudsman.

Article 13. Registration and publication

1. The Cooperating Partner as referred to in article 5 paragraph 1 of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce as provided for in article 5 paragraph 2 takes care of the registration of the relevant written Complaints submitted.

2. The registered Complaints are made anonymous and published in the annual report of the relevant Cooperating Partner. The year under report can be consulted by the general public.

Article 14. No objection or appeal

There is no objection or appeal possible against the decision about a Complaint as provided for in this procedure.