Introduction 

The Policy outlines Virgin StartUp’s approach to capturing, responding to and resolving complaints. 

It outlines the objectives underpinning the complaints process, explains how to submit a complaint, and who will be responsible for reviewing complaints. 

Virgin StartUp seeks to take a positive approach to complaints and to treat customers fairly at all times. 

The below guidance is designed to help make the process of raising a complaint as clear as possible. If you simply have a question about Virgin StartUp, or are looking for an update on an application, 

please contact the team: hello@virginstartup.org Purpose and Objectives 

Virgin StartUp exists to empower founders to start up and thrive. In doing so, it aims to deliver a fair and positive experience for all individuals. As part of this endeavour, Virgin StartUp is committed to continually reviewing and improving both its offering and the way this offering is delivered. 

Feedback that we receive from individuals who engage with us, whether positive or negative, is a primary way for Virgin StartUp to identify areas for improvement. 

The purpose of this Complaints Policy is therefore to provide a clear and transparent process for individuals wishing to submit a complaint. 

The objectives of this Policy are to: 

  1. Provide a clear outline about how you can make a complaint. 
  2. Explain who should be contacted when submitting a complaint, including how and when you can escalate a complaint. 
  3. Clearly communicate the levels of service you can expect when going through the complaints process. 

Scope 

This Policy applies directly to any individual who has engaged with Virgin StartUp and wishes to express dissatisfaction or submit a complaint. 

For the avoidance of doubt, this policy does not apply to any direct interactions that an individual may have with organisations that Virgin StartUp may partner with, including but not limited to The Start Up Loans Company and The Enterprise Fund Limited (trading as GC Business Finance) (“GCBF”) (as the appointed Finance Partner of The Start Up Loans Scheme). 

Whilst you can express dissatisfaction about The Start Up Loans Company or GCBF (together, the “Partners”) to Virgin StartUp, you should address any complaints about your experiences with these Partners to them directly in the first instance. These Partners are separate legal entities that operate their own policies and procedures. You should consult the relevant Partner’s complaints policy for guidance on how they manage complaints. The relevant contact details for each organisation are provided below. 

 

Who should I go to complain to? 

Depending on the nature of the complaint, this should initially be directed to one of three parties: 

Virgin StartUp – Complaints should be submitted to Virgin StartUp if they relate to any aspect of the service provided by, or communications sent from, Virgin StartUp. This includes but is not limited to any pre-loan support or post-loan support, any accelerator programmes, events, workshops or webinars [provided by Virgin StartUp]. 

Email: hello@virginstartup.org Telephone: 020 7313 2002 

GCBF - Complaints relating to loan administration e.g. Credit agreements, loan distribution, or subsequent collections and repayments, should be directed to GCBF. 

In addition, to discuss repayment plans or if you are having difficulty with your loan repayments, please also contact GCBF. 

Email: bfsult@growthco.uk Telephone: 0161 245 4900 

The Start Up Loans Company – If the matter relates to information or communications provided by The Start Up Loans Company, please contact the Start Up Loans Company directly. 

Email: hello@startuploans.co.uk 

Telephone: 0344 264 2600 

Webchat: www.startuploans.co.uk 

What should I include in my complaint? 

All complaints made should include the following information: 

  • Details of your complaint against Virgin StartUp. 
  • Any relevant evidence to support your complaint [for example emails exchanged with Virgin StartUp staff]. 

Please note, anonymous complaints or those made on behalf of someone else will only be investigated in exceptional circumstances and at Virgin StartUp’s sole discretion. 

 

The Complaints Process 

The following process relates to complaints that are submitted directly to Virgin StartUp and are within the scope of this Policy. 

When Virgin StartUp receives an individual’s complaint, it will endeavour to address the matter in a timely fashion, effectively, and in a fair and reasonable manner. 

If a resolution cannot be reached within 3 working days, the Business Support Team will send you an email. This written acknowledgement will: 

Acknowledge that a complaint has been submitted; 

  • Advise you that Virgin StartUp is reviewing the matter; 
  • Inform you that the matter will be investigated and that a final response will be provided in writing within eight weeks of the complaint being received (although Virgin StartUp aims to resolve all matters sooner than this where possible). 

From this point forward, the Head of Funding and Support will assume responsibility for ensuring your complaint is resolved within eight weeks. They will ensure that the complaint is investigated by the appropriate individuals and within the above timescale. 

Once the matter has been investigated and Virgin StartUp has made a decision regarding the complaint, you will receive a written final response. This final response will be provided to you via email and will: 

  • Acknowledge all of the concerns within the original complaint; 
  • Outline the findings of any investigation; 
  • Clarify whether the complaint was ‘upheld’ or ‘not upheld’; 
  • Outline the proposed resolution (if applicable); 
  • Inform you that, in the event that your complaint relates to The Start Up Loans Scheme, and that you are not satisfied with the final response, you have the right to escalate the matter to The Start Up Loans Company. 

In exceptional circumstances, we may not be able to provide you with a final response within eight weeks. In these instances, a holding communication will be sent to you in writing. This holding communication will: 

  • Inform you of the delay; 
  • Outline the reasons for the delay; 
  • Provide an expected response time for sending the final response. 

Levels of service 

Virgin StartUp endeavours to ensure that, where possible, all individuals who interact with us: 

  • Receive a fair and positive experience; 
  • Are supported in accordance with their needs; 
  • Are given fair and impartial consideration of their concerns, with due consideration for their confidentiality. If you make a complaint to Virgin StartUp, your personal data will be handled in accordance with Virgin’s data protection policy; 
  • Have their concerns responded to in a timely manner that reflects the approach outlined within this Policy; and 
  • Can rely on accurate information being provided with which to make an informed decision. 

Records of Complaints 

In line with market practice, complaint records are kept on file for a minimum of three years and Virgin StartUp will co‐operate with any official investigations or requests for information from The Start Up Loans Company or GCBF (as the appointed Finance Partner for the Start Up Loans Scheme), in the event of a complaint being escalated. 

Further Information 

Virgin StartUp will not reimburse any fees, expenses or costs involved in raising or pursuing any complaint. 

Virgin StartUp reserves the right to take any appropriate action to protect itself from any unfounded, malicious or vexatious allegations or complaints. Untrue allegations could lead to legal action for defamation. 

Nothing in this Policy should be interpreted to restrict any rights of redress a complainant has in law. 

This Policy does not confer any contractual rights and Virgin StartUp reserves the right to update this policy and its key terms at any time and without notice. 

It is Virgin StartUp’s policy to present information on complaints to its senior management team, including the Managing Director.