COMPLAINTS POLICY

Cellmark is committed to providing all of our customers with the highest standard of service. We can continually improve service to our customers, preserve our reputation and maintain customer loyalty by listening to customers and responding to comments and complaints.

We take complaints seriously. If we have not met customer expectations, we need to know so that we can make sure that it never happens again. We can be contacted by telephone 0800 036 2522, email: info@cellmark.co.uk, via this website: www.cellmark.co.uk or by letter addressed to the Customer Service Manager.

Where a customer has a complaint we will:

  • Record the complaint on receipt
  • Contact the customer within 2 working days to acknowledge the complaint and to confirm or, if necessary, obtain further details
  • Investigate the complaint promptly and fairly
  • Respond in writing within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, with the outcome of our investigation and, if necessary, to agree further time to resolve the complaint to the customer’s satisfaction.

NOTE: For DNA Relationship and Hair Drug & Alcohol testing customers, a formal complaint report may not necessarily be required and complaints may be resolved either telephonically or by e-mail from Cellmark’s Customer Services department.

  • Keep the customer informed of progress by letter or e-mail and update the complaint appropriately
  • We recognise it may not always be possible to meet the 30 day turn-around time for provision of a final report as Cellmark may be awaiting information from a third party. In these cases a comprehensive interim report should be provided
  • Resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the customer or if the customer remains dissatisfied, advise them of their right to refer the complaint to the United Kingdom Accreditation Service
  • Close the complaint after 2 weeks following our written response to the customer if further correspondence from the customer is not received

NOTE: If the target date for response to the customer cannot be met, the reason and revised date must be recorded in any corrective action.

Cellmark's terms and conditions

Definitions

“Cellmark”, “we”, “us”, “our”, “ours” Orchid Cellmark Ltd. Registered in England No. 4045527. Registered office 16 Blacklands Way, Abingdon, Oxon OX 14 I DY info@cellmark.co.uk VAT ref GB750029264.

“Consenting Party” A person confirming a Donor’s consent whether the Donor themself or another person where the Donor is a minor or lacks mental capacity or otherwise consents via another person.

“Contract” The binding contract for Testing Services between you and us formed in accordance with and subject to these terms and conditions.

“Customer”, “you”, “your”, “yours” The Donor or Consenting Party as the case may be.

“Donor” A person providing a Sample for testing.

“Information Packs” The on-line information available to Customers or physical packs provided to Customers describing each of our Testing Services and itemising indicative rates of our charges for goods and services.

“Registration Form” The form completed and accordingly submitted by Customers whether on-line, in person, by post or over the telephone (in the latter case whereby we shall complete the form on your behalf and send you a copy)

“Sample” Any biological sample accepted by us for DNA and/or toxicology analysis. “DNA paternity testing” and “DNA paternity analysis” shall refer to any type of relationship analysis and “toxicology analysis” any type of toxicology testing and all such testing shall be carried out using whatever test(s) is/are deemed necessary by us in our absolute discretion.

“Sampler” Any person who collects a Sample for submission to us.

“SDF” The sample declaration form to be completed by the Consenting Party and the Sampler

“Testing Services” The services described in the Information Packs.

“Third Parties” All persons other than you, us, the Donor or the Consenting Party.


  1. Submission of a duly completed Registration gives rise to a Contract to the exclusion of any other terms and conditions insofar as such exclusion does not affect your statutory rights such as your right to change your mind, by way of written notice to us, within fourteen calendar days of submission of a Registration subject to the reservations set out in clause 5 below.
  2. It is your responsibility to ensure that all Donor consents are in place and that the Donor submits to testing on an informed basis. Failure to do so or providing false or misleading information is unlawful and may constitute an offence. It is the responsibility of the adults who submit samples for DNA relationship analysis to comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the country from where the testing is requested, where the samples are taken, and where the test results are destined. Cellmark cannot be held liable for any breaches of such laws.
  3. All fees payable for Testing Services are quoted exclusive of VAT in the relevant [Information Packs] and online.
  4. Unless specifically detailed, any standard fee does not cover provision of the following, non-exhaustive items:
    • The attendance of expert witnesses at Court hearings.
    • Any fees or costs associated with either the taking of Samples or their return to us.
    • Any additional scientific work required.
  5. We will only carry out the Testing Services when the following have been supplied to us to our satisfaction and in accordance with our directions given from time to time:
    • A duly completed Case Registration Form.
    • All samples relevant to the purpose for which the Testing Services are required.
    • A completed SDF.
    • In circumstances where we reserve the right to withhold any test results and/or report until payment has been made in full -  a. Payment of the required fee; or b. where appropriate, an agreement to pay against an  invoice to be raised on dispatch of the test results. Our standard terms are 60 days from invoice date.
  6. We do not accept responsibility for the acts or omissions of the Sampler.
  7. Completion of a Registration requesting Cellmark to carry out testing and analysis will be deemed to constitute an order and is the authority to commence the process and incur the fees. In the event of this order being subsequently cancelled for whatever reason, Cellmark reserves the right to make a cancellation charge for administrative procedures already carried out for personalisation of the sampling kit before dispatch. This charge will be £50 inc VAT in all cases cancelled before sampling kits have been dispatched, £75 inc VAT in any cases where sampling kits have already been dispatched but no Samples have been received in our laboratory, £133 inc VAT in any cases where a Sample(s) has already been received in our laboratory, and the full testing fee when all Samples have been received at our laboratory and testing has been started.
  8. We reserve the right to request further Samples at the expense of the person requesting the analysis, in particular but without limitation, in cases where the quantity or quality of the Sample received, or the identification procedure carried out, is not, in our opinion, adequate or does not comply with the sampling instructions issued.
  9. We do not accept responsibility for Samples:
    • taken using sampling kits different to those supplied or approved in advance by us
    • sent on behalf of persons not registered for testing with us
    • damaged in transit (whereby we reserves the right to destroy all such samples on receipt).
  10. Every Consenting Party is required to complete a SDF confirming Donor consent for: (a) a Sample to be taken and used for the purpose of Testing Services; and (b) processing of Donor personal data.
  11. SDFs are used to establish the identity of Donors and we reserve the right to provide copies of any completed SDF(s) and any photograph(s) supplied by the Consenting Party and certified by the Sampler to:
    • all Donors;
    • the Consenting Party;
    • any Third Party who has a lawful interest in the outcome of the test; and
    • any Court as and when appropriate.
  12. Cellmark cannot accept responsibility for any sample misidentification prior to arrival at the laboratory and disclaims any and all liability that may arise from this.
  13. The frequency of DNA markers varies between ethnic groups, and where the ethnic origin information has not been completed on the SDF, Cellmark will use a Caucasian database to calculate the probability of the relationship.
  14. We will take all reasonable steps to produce a report within a reasonable time but cannot accept any responsibility for any delay however occasioned.
  15. We will undertake the Testing Services only on the understanding that:
    • the report will only be made available to those persons stipulated in the relevant Information Pack
    • the results of the analysis will only be disclosed in writing (including e-mail and/or CSV files).
  16. All Samples tested in Cellmark’s laboratories will be destroyed after three months, unless we are otherwise prior instructed in writing or the samples relate to a case where we have been notified of the possibility of fraudulent activity. Storage of Samples beyond this period may be subject to a reasonable storage charge.  We will destroy all other confidential documentation concerning Testing Services after twelve months following the date of a test Report or twenty four months in Hair Drug & Alcohol testing cases, unless otherwise prior instructed in writing. This does not apply to Samples or data used for validation purposes (see paragraph 17). We are legally required to retain invoices for six years.
  17. Cellmark shall be entitled to use data, results and surplus Samples submitted for testing in studies relating to such matters as statistical, analytical and genetic parameters for testing and validation of methodology by independent bodies. The Samples, data and results will be selected in a random anonymous manner so they cannot be linked or traced back to any individual.
  18. Save in respect of death or personal injury occasioned by negligence, in the event of any party being able to establish a claim for damages resulting from any act or omission whether negligent or otherwise of Cellmark in the provision of any service hereunder, the full extent of liability of Cellmark to pay damages will be limited to £10,000 in respect of any one set of Samples. In any event no such claim will be entertained unless the same is made in writing within twelve months of the date of the report. All and any other liability of Cellmark is excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  19. Submission of a Registration Form and/or completion of the SDF will be deemed consent to our providing the information and instructions to Third Parties required for obtaining or testing Samples.
  20. This agreement will be subject to the Law of England & Wales and to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English & Welsh courts.