Ofcom is to extend their programme of monitoring and investigating comms providers for their compliance to complains handling legislation by another six months.
The programme, which applies to fixed line, mobile and broadband providers has been active since 2010, making it one of the longest running monitoring and enforcement programmes.
The review includes whether complainees are receiving the required information informing them of their right to use an alternative dispute resolution services (ADR). Under Ofcom’s self-launched investigation, only O2 remains unscathed and fine-free. Vodafone received a £925,000 fine in 2016, EE received a £1 million fine in 2015, and Three received a £250,000 fine in 2014.
The complaints handling investigation was previously extended due to poor performance by communications providers, though this time it is being extended due to improved performance, making it unclear as to when or under what grounds, the programme will end.
Commenting on the decision to continue the monitoring and enforcement scheme, a statement by Ofcom reads, ‘By extending the programme, we will continue to engage with CPs to drive further improvements to their complaints handling processes, as well as monitoring industry compliance with GC14.4. If any formal enforcement action is taken as a result of the work undertaken in this programme, we will publish separate Bulletin entries as appropriate.’
A study by Mott Macdonald on behalf of Ofcom in 2015 found that out of 897 complaints cases analysed, 32 written notifications detailing the complaints procedure had been issued, but only 16 arrived within the 8 week time frame required. The report also concluded that communications providers were marking complaints as ‘solved’ despite their being no apparent grounds for doing so.