Mobile phone company EE has been fined £1 million by Ofcom for ‘serious failings’ in handling customer complaints.
EE failed to adequately inform customers that they could take their complaints to an ombudsman if their issues were unresolved after eight weeks, or if they reached stalemate or ‘deadlock’ with them before eight weeks.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Telecoms are now an essential part of their life, so it’s disappointing customer complaints haven’t been dealt with fairly.
‘Companies won’t always get it right and that’s why it’s important people feel protected and empowered to escalate their complaint to get their issue resolved.’
Check out our guide on how to take a complaint about a mobile phone provider under an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.
ADR – how it works
With ADR schemes, customers escalate complaints for free to an ombudsman, which can reach impartial judgments.
They cover all sorts of markets, from property and holidays to financial products – as well as mobile phone services.
If you’re unhappy with how your mobile provider has been handling your complaint, there are two ombudsman services to choose from – Cisas or Ombudsman Services: Communications.
EE amended complaints code
The investigation into EE was carried out between July 2011 and April 2014.
Ofcom said that EE had since amended its Customer Complaints Code to include correct references about steps customers can take to resolve complaints.
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.’
He added: ‘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.’