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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.
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