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REFERENCE NO: AHC/1998/4/4.1



The purpose of this protocol is to describe the procedures to be followed when dealing with complaints resulting from the receipt of growing or frozen cell lines.


If a customer contacts the collection regarding a complaint, the customer is requested to complete and return a Customer Service Form (AHC/1998/4/4.1 Appendix 1)

  1. Upon receipt of form, details into the relevant database are entered and paperwork is then passed to the Head of the Collection for review and course of action.
  2. If the complaint does not require start up then the paperwork is passed back to the Sales Office who then contact the customer re sending a replacement.
  3. Where further authentication is required, a relevant form (see AHC/1998/4/4.1 Appendix 5) is filled out. If the complaint does require start up then the paperwork is passed to laboratory staff who will carry out further investigations as directed. The Customer Services Form and Complaint Form (see point 11 of AHC/1998/4/4.1 Appendix 2) are temporarily filed in the Customer Complaints File. When results are available and investigations are complete the paperwork is then returned to the Sales Office who then inform the customer of the outcome.
  4. If the complaint refers to despatch, contamination, or late arrival a frozen cell line and no repeat checks are required, replacement is authorised by Head of Cell Culture. If not dealt with at point 2, go to point 3.
  5. If the complaint is regarding poor viability then a ampoule, of the same batch wherever possible, is thawed and put into culture. The cell count and viability is also checked where required and results noted on the customer complaint front sheet (AHC/1998/4/4.1 Appendix 2). After up to one week in culture these cultures are then sent to the customers as a growing replacement.
  6. If the complaint is regarding an authentication issue it is dealt with by the Scientific Manager.
  7. If complaint is made after the guarantee period and the cell line passed original QC tests then the customer should be informed of the results and a replacement refused.
  8. If complaint is made within the guarantee period cell lines are replaced free of charge. Exceptions to this are:
  9. a) if the cell line has been grown in media not recommended by the collection, claims for non-viability are invalid.

    b) if the cell line was received as a growing culture and was subcultured more than once.

  10. In exceptional circumstances decided by the Head of the General Collection or Quality Control replacements may be issued which contravene the above and payment of shipping charges will be requested. In such cases an invoice is raised against the original order number.
  11. In all cases approval of the Head of General Collection or Quality Control Sections must be obtained prior to issue of replacements. After approval is obtained a letter/fax is sent to customer informing course of action.
  12. If AHC/1998/4/4.1 Appendix 5 has been completed perform the relevant tests where necessary comparing master and distribution stocks and keep the customer informed of progress.
  13. Completed complaints to be filed in completed complaints file in Sales Office.

Complaints to be reviewed on a six monthly basis by the collection management.

Guidelines prepared for CABRI by CERDIC, DSMZ, ECACC, INRC, November 1998
Page layout by CERDIC
Copyright CABRI, 1998

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