Ofcom decided to punish Three UK for not complying with rules on handling complaints.
The British telecoms watchdog launched a monitoring and enforcement programme some time ago. Ofcom’s initiative’s goal is to watch over how customer complaints are being dealt by operators. Recently, we have learned that they had their first success after investigating Three UK.
The regulator found some issues in Three’s complaint handling processes. As it turned out some complaints weren’t resolved in a fair and timely manner. The main offence was that some customer cases were closed even though they weren’t properly dealt with. Other problems involved situations when customer calls were not registered in the system and as a result they weren’t treated according to the operator’s complaint handling process. Ofcom was also dissatisfied that Three’s customers weren’t aware that they could try to fight for their rights through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Three UK is obliged by the law to inform their customers that such scheme as ADR exists. Alternative dispute resolution is part of consumer protection policy and it is a free-of-charge method of referring a complaint that couldn’t be resolved to an independent body that could give an objective ruling.
Ofcom decided to fine Three UK £250,000 for non-compliance with approved Code of Practice for complaints handling. The watchdog also acknowledges that Three UK ensured that its complaint handling process will be in line with the legal requirements.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer and Content Group Director, commented on this situation saying “When things go wrong, customers are not only entitled to complain to their provider, but must have confidence that their complaint will be dealt with fairly.That’s why we impose strict rules on providers on how they must handle complaints.We treat any failure to follow these rules very seriously”.