UK communications regulator Ofcom has announced changes to the way fixed-line and mobile phone companies deal with customer complaints. From next year, UK communications providers will need to include information about dispute resolution services on all paper bills. They'll also be obliged to write to consumers whose complaints have not been resolved within eight weeks to tell them about their right to take complaints to a dispute resolution service.
All communications providers already need to offer customers free access to an independent Ofcom-approved dispute resolution service; currently either CISAS or Otelo. These resolution services can be invited to take action if a complaint remains unresolved for eight weeks. However, Ofcom's research shows that many customers are unaware of this option.
Ofcom is also establishing a mandatory Code of Practice with minimum standards for how providers handle consumer complaints. The new Ofcom Code of Practice will come into force on 22nd January 2011, with the new requirements to improve awareness of dispute resolution services coming into force on 22nd July 2011.
Ed Richards, Ofcom's Chief Executive, said "We want to make sure that when something goes wrong, consumers are able to find out easily how to make a complaint and can be assured that their provider will be able to handle their complaint effectively."