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Ofcom Claims EE Broke their UK Consumer Complaint Handling Rules

Friday, March 27th, 2015 (11:07 am) - Score 1,032

The national telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has concluded a yearlong probe into EE’s (also trading as Orange UK and T-Mobile) handling of consumer complaints and found that “there are reasonable grounds for believing” that the operator broke its rules (General Condition 14.4).

Ofcom monitors telecoms and Internet providers to ensure that they comply with the relevant complaints handling code, which in the case of GC14.4 requires that such providers offer consumers and small business customers an effective, transparent and accessible means for tackling complaints about their service.

Ofcom’s Statement

Following an investigation, Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds for believing that EE, trading as 4GEE, Orange and T-Mobile, has contravened GC14.4 of the General Conditions. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to EE under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that over the period from 22 July 2011 to 8 April 2014 EE contravened GC14.4 by failing to have and comply with procedures that conform to the Ofcom Approved Code of Practice for Complaints Handling (the ‘Ofcom Code’ which is Annex 4 to GC14) when handling complaints made by domestic and small business customers about its Public Electronic Communications Services.

A quick look at one of Ofcom’s last consumer complaints reports from 2014 (here) shows that EE were the most complained about mobile and fixed line broadband provider between late 2012 and early 2014 (they weren’t doing too well before that either – under the Orange and T-Mobile brands), although they had been showing some signs of improvement.

In that sense it’s perhaps not surprising that Ofcom might also find something amiss with their internal ability to handle such complaints. The regulator has now asked EE to respond to its findings and the case continues. It’s possible that EE could now face a fine and or other corrective measures.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. DTMark says:

    We’ve been using EE 4G on a PAYG basis, so spending £30 to £60 per month. Their abysmal/non-existent customer service rules out any kind of contract with them, as does the possible sale to BT.

    We had several weeks of free service from EE when the data usage counter was disabled. Has now been re-enabled, so we need to “top it up”.

    The top up online service doesn’t work, so it isn’t possible to use them any more. Company must be awash with money and doesn’t need customer payments. There is simply no way to give them any money. Nobody there seems to have noticed the total loss of a revenue stream.

    In the past, leaving aside intermediaries like Twitter and Facebook, there were two means of written contact: letter by post, or online complaints form.

    I used the latter once and received no response at all.

    Now, that link has disappeared.

    “Make a complaint” just links to the standard contact forms.

    http://ee.co.uk/help/safety-and-security/my-digital-life/complaints-code-of-practice

    They really don’t want anything in writing, and the customer has to pay to call a premium rate number to complain. Unless they have an EE landline number. And why would they?

  2. dragoneast says:

    I’ve used EE (in their previous incarnations) for both mobile and landline/broadband. As everyone seems to say I’ve found their communication is poor or non-existent; although strangely they seem, more by accident than design, sometimes to end up being generous. However,in my experience they have two responses: either “this is what we do, and that’s it”. Whatever they are supposed to do is irrelevant; or to just ignore you (especially if it smacks of a complaint). The only way round this used to be to get hold of the old Orange Executive Office which had a couple of helpful guys a while back (who didn’t last long) or use the ISPA, which linked you to another helpful person – though they soon gave up too. I don’t think either works any more. Imagine French bureaucracy.

    I don’t hold with the popular “x are useless” like some 13th Commandment. But do speak as I find. As with so many firms they’re saved by the technology, though we all complain about it, being pretty reliable on the whole, at least if you make a little bit of effort to understand it rather than the other way around.

  3. Bob2OO2 says:

    EE customer services combined with BT customer services = the ultimate cluster….??

  4. Graham says:

    EE have provided me with a, shocking fibre broadband service which on the last speed test, gave D/load: 1.0 Mb U/load: 0.75. Given a whole month they could not put it right and I left. A complaint submitted to CISAS resulted in a part success in my claim against EE. EE now seek early cancellation charges!!!!. I suggested to CISAS that Dick Turpin could improve his banditry by learning from EE!
    Anybody had a similar problem?

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