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ComReg opens consultation on Code of Practice for complaints

The consultation is open from now until 6 February.

On 23 December, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) opened a consultation on Electronic Communications Provider’s Code of Practice for Complaints handling.

In the year from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, ComReg’s consumer care team logged 24,000 queries and complaints from consumers.

All of these consumers were invited to undertake an after-call survey, in which they are asked to rate how satisfied they are with how their provider handled their issue before they contacted ComReg. The results of this question for the past three years indicate a low to medium level of satisfaction.

ComReg has also highlighted that it believes there is too high a volume of complaints being escalated to it, and that there seems to be an inconsistent approach to codes of practice across providers.

Given all of these issues, ComReg is launching this consultation as the first point on the way to reviewing the minimum standards for complaints handling across providers.

The proposals set out in the consultation include guidelines around:

  • A first point of contact for complainants;
  • How complaints are recorded;
  • A response timeframe;
  • Procedures for resolving complaints;
  • Details of appropriate cases where reimbursement of payments will be made (for example delay in porting or abuse of porting); and
  • Details of retention of records of complaints.

The aim of introducing minimum standards in these areas is to standardise commitments, across all providers, and encouraging a more systematic approach to the requirements of codes of practice in general.

The consultation period closes on 6 February, after which point ComReg will publish the standards.

Minimum standards should mean a much more uniform approach to dealing with complaints - which is great news for any consumers who have to raise issues with their providers.

Watch this space!