Ofcom gets tough on complaints

Ofcom yesterday unveiled plans to offer an independent service to consumers to resolve complaints with their phone and broadband providers, after finding that three-million consumers failed to settle complaints within 12 weeks during 2009.
The UK regulator will establish a Code of Practice outlining how telcos and ISPs must handle complaints, which will also give it the power to punish providers it feels have not handled complaints fairly.
Providers will be required to include details of the independent arbiter on bills and inform customers of the service in writing if their complaint hasn’t been resolved within eight weeks.
“We want to make sure that when something goes wrong, consumers are able to find out easily how to make a complaint and can be assured that their provider will be able to handle their complaint effectively,” Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards said.
The code of practice will apply from late January 2011, with the awareness campaign scheduled to begin in July.