Telecoms regulator Ofcom has approved new measures to help consumers
when they put in a complaint about a company when they are having problems with
landline, mobile phone and broadband.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes act as a "middleman” in
the event that no resolution to a complaint can be found. The two new
organisations, "Ombudsman Services: Communications (OS) and the Communications
and Internet Services Adjudication Service (CISAS), must follow a set of common
principles when considering consumer complaints,” Ofcom said in a press
"These ‘decision making principles’ will help safeguard against any
potential inconsistencies in the way the schemes deal with and resolve consumer
complaints, resulting in better outcomes for consumers,” the regulator went on
During a review of ADR and CISAS, it was found that the schemes "resolve
disputes effectively” but had a number of inconsistencies that needed to be
addressed, it’s thought that the new regulations will reduce such inconsistencies.
Further to this, the organisations must "adopt common compensation guidelines”
and ensure that all consumers are treated fairly when it comes to being awarded
During the Ofcom review, it was noted by the regulators that the two
schemes had both introduced improvements so that they are now more accessible,
somewhat proven by the fact that more consumers than ever before are now using
Recent figures have shown complaints made to CISAS have risen by 56%
over the course of the year, whilst OS saw a 17% rise.
Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer Group, said: "Effective
redress for consumers is essential and by providing a free, independent service
to consider disputes, ADR schemes play a key part in this. OS and CISAS have
agreed to the new decision making principles, and Ofcom has therefore continued
its approval of both of these ADR providers.”
The regulatory body will continue to work with the ADR schemes to
ensure that the "new decision making principles” continue to work well and the
schemes will be reviewed on a regular basis. Ofcom guidelines for consumers on
how to make a complaint can be found on the Ofcom website.
In response to Ofcom, the Communications Consumer Panel’s Kim Brook
said: "The Communications Consumer Panel has consistently backed moves to
improve the two ADR schemes, including the introduction of decision-making
principles to increase consistency in outcomes”.
Brook went on to say that the panel was satisfied that Ofcom has
listened to their concerns over the fairness, accessibility and effectiveness
of the complaints process.
"The Panel continues to call for the publication of information about
complaints referred to ADR and the proportion that are upheld,” Brooks