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UK ISPA and ITSPA Adopt Ombudsman Services for Consumer Complaints

Friday, January 8th, 2016 (1:10 pm) - Score 509
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The UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) and Internet Telephony Services Providers Association (ITSPA) have officially swapped their Ofcom approved consumer complaints handler (ADR) scheme from CISAS to Ombudsman Services.

The national UK telecoms regulator requires that all broadband ISPs become members of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. The schemes are designed to supplement (not replace) an ISPs own internal complaints procedures and are only used after a customer dispute has gone unresolved for 8 weeks (i.e. the “Deadlock Letter” stage).

Members of the above trade organisations have until now been able to gain free access to an ADR via the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), although this changed on 1st January 2016 when both the ISPA and ITSPA adopted Ombudsman Services: Communications as a replacement for CISAS.

Apparently CISAS will continue to deal with any complaints currently logged with them, but they won’t be taking on any new cases. Further details of how ADR providers work can be found under our ISP Complaints and Advice section

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman, said:

Ombudsman Services’ roots began with resolving telecommunication complaints. We are the largest communications dispute resolution service and are delighted to be working with the companies that provide services through ITSPA and ISPA.

We look forward to further helping them to improve their customer service models, as well as offering customers our free and impartial resolution service should they encounter a problem with internet telephony products or services.”

Nicholas Lansman, ISPAs Secretary General, said:

Free ADR is an important member benefit for ISPA members and their customers, giving peace of mind should a dispute arise. We are pleased to be working with Ombudsman Services.”

A lot of ISPA members have yet to update their websites to reflect the change, which could create confusion among customers, but no doubt they’ll get that sorted out over the next few weeks (note: members don’t strictly have to use the ISPA’s ADR choice).

Meanwhile consumers might well welcome the ADR process as a useful tool, although ISPs remain generally unhappy with it because they can be forced to pay hundreds of pounds in ADR fees, even when a customer’s dispute is rejected by the ombudsman.

The ISPA has been using CISAS for a long time, although ISPreview.co.uk understands that the switch was made because CISAS’s 3-year contract was up for renewal and OS was apparently able to deliver a more competitive offer for their members.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. cyclope

    But what about the consumer where do they stand with this change? what may be good for the provider ,is likely to not be so good for those that need it, i have used cisas a few times and the service that they provided was great, i have also used what is now known as Ombudsman Services, and thought their approach to complaints was no where near as good as CISAS So thanks to the useless ISPA For breaking what was a good service

    • Matt

      ISPA have not broken anything. CISAS still exists and providers can still opt to use that by paying them directly.

      This benefit is provided free to ISPA members, so it makes sense for the ISPA to get the best deal for their members.

      Ofcom only dictate that you must be member of one ADR from two and that choice is down to the service provider.

  2. rogTM

    Just keep that ferguson bloke away from it – he already by association corrupts the ISPA’s whole point. He’s via biased and probably pockets as a result.

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