Ofcom to make complaining easier


Ofcom to make complaining easier
Consumer complaints about the communications industry could be resolved quicker under new proposals from regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom said it receives thousands of complaints every week from consumers who have had problems in the communications sector, which could be with their fixed line, mobile phone or broadband provider.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive said, "Effective complaints handling and an accessible scheme for resolving disputes ensure that individual consumers are able to seek redress when things go wrong.

"Inadequate or inappropriate procedures can cause significant harm and detriment to consumers."

Under Ofcom rules, all communications providers must have and comply with an Ofcom-approved code of practice for complaints and be a member of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme.

But less that 50 per cent of consumers are aware communications providers' complaints code and 15 per cent are aware of at least one of the two ADR schemes.

In an example of where the complaints resolution process has resulted in a victory for the customer, Ofcom said one consumer received £600 in compensation after trying unsuccessfully for several months to close their account.

Ofcom wants to speed up the process by reducing the time a customer has to wait before going to an ADR from 12 to eight weeks and make it cheaper by putting limits on the call charges for complaints handling lines.

If a communications provider does not comply with the regulations, Ofcom is able to fine up to ten per cent of its annual relevant turnover.

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