COMPLAINTS POLICY

Purpose of policy

WWOOF Ireland is committed to providing a safe, educational and enjoyable service. If something goes wrong, all parties are encouraged to contact the office. All complaints are kept strictly confidential and a mediation process will start immediately.

Zero Tolerance

WWOOF Ireland has a zero tolerance policy on serious offences, including sexual harassment, theft and any criminal activity. In such serious cases the Gards or Police will be notified so they can take appropriate actions. WWOOF Ireland reserves the right to remove offenders from the database while such complaints are under investigation and cancel their WWOOF membership. In an emergency situation if a Host or WWOOFer feels threatened they should deal with this as they would in any other threatening situation and inform the authorities directly themselves.

Obligations

There are certain obligations for hosts and volunteers who agree to a specified Commitment by signing up. If there are any complaints we take them very seriously (See the WWOOF HOST Commitment and the WWOOFer Commitment)

Definition of a complaint

A complaint is a report from one subscribed member of WWOOF Ireland concerning the conduct of another in terms of their behaviour, living conditions, expectations and misrepresentations. All complaints have to be submitted in writing before any action will be taken.

  1. Sexual harassment or physical abuse.
  2. Verbal abuse.
  3. Non-organic practices.
  4. Place too dirty, bad hygene, too cold.
  5. Food not enough or not nourishing.
  6. living / eating / working alone with no contact with host.
  7. Too many hours help required.
  8. Host inhospitable / unfriendly.
  9. Non-wwoof work / business using wwoofers.
  10. Host details on site inaccurate or misleading.

Who can make a complaint?

Complaints must come from direct experience, although WWOOF Ireland will note any second hand complaints, i.e. someone complaining about a specific Host or WWOOFer because of what they have heard elsewhere, or in some cases from a member of the public if the complaint is of a very serious nature and can be verified. Generally complaints are either from WWOOFers about hosts, or Hosts about WWOOFers.

Feedback facility

At the present time WWOOFers are able to leave feedback for hosts – this can either be public feedback, the source of which the Host can be made aware or private feedback, where the right to anonymity of the complainant is upheld. Feedback is viewed before it is published and negative feedback is treated as a complaint and acted on accordingly. Negative feedback is not published but allows us to help the Host make changes to their practices, or site details. If this is not done then further action may be taken.

Timeframe for making a complaint

All complaints must be submitted in writing, although in any emergency situation a telephone complaint will be acted upon, but will require a written follow up from the complainant. In most cases complaints will be received by email and the complainant will be asked to consult the Commitment for the Host or WWOOFer and express their complaint in terms of how this may not have been fulfilled. Also the complainant will be asked to forward any email exchange that they have.

Investigating and Resolving a complaint

Complaints are often the result of miscommunication between the two parties, and so in many cased WWOOF Ireland will strongly advise those involved to talk openly and frankly to each other to resolve the issue. The email exchange between the parties can often reveal how miscommunication may have arisen, this is why we ask for it to be sent on to us.

Redress

WWOOFers or Hosts can be deleted from the database and their membership withdrawn if there is criminal activity involved or there are number of complaints on the same issue which are not addressed. Each situation will be handled on an individual basis – formerly WWOOF Independents would exclude a Host or WWOOFer if there had been 3 complaints – this is used by WWOOF Ireland as a rough guideline, but the more serious the complaint, the more like the removal from the organisation before this.