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Ofcom fines EE £1m for breaking regulatory complaints procedures

Ofcom has fined mobile network operator EE £1m for failing to give customers information about taking stalled complaints to a dispute resolution process

Ofcom fined EE £1m for failing to comply with the telecoms regulator’s complaints procedure for customers.

An Ofcom investigation found that, between 22 July 2011 and 8 April 2014, EE did not provide customers with accurate or adequate information about their right to take their complaint to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme.

An ADR scheme allows customers to refer complaints that cannot be resolved with their provider to an independent body, which can reach an impartial judgment. Customers can take complaints to ADR if they remain unresolved after eight weeks, or if a stalemate is reached between the customer and the provider before eight weeks.

Under General Condition 14.4, Communications Providers (CPs) must comply with procedures that conform to the Ofcom Approved Code of Practice for Complaints Handling when handling complaints made by domestic and small business customers about its Public Electronic Communications Services.

Ofcom found EE failed to send customers written notification of their right to go to ADR. Ofcom stated that EE had not sent deadlock letters on request to customers in a number of complaint cases.

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Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer and content group director, said: “It’s vital that customers can access all the information they need when they’re pursuing a complaint.

"Ofcom imposes strict rules on how providers must handle complaints and treats any breach of these rules very seriously. The fine imposed against EE takes account of the serious failings that occurred in the company’s complaints handling, and the extended period over which these took place."

In June 2015 Ofcom released statistics on the number of consumer complaints against broadband, phone and pay TV operators, collaring EE as the worst offender.

At the time, Ofcom found EE generated 0.51 complaints per 1,000 customers, an increase on the fourth quarter of 2014, with faults, service and provision making up 37% of the total.

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