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Ofcom Warns UK ISP Care Free Communications Over Complaints

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 (11:12 am) - Score 496
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Little known broadband and phone provider Care Free Communications has got itself into hot water with Ofcom, which comes after the telecoms regulator found “reasonable grounds for believing” that the ISP was no longer a member of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

All Internet Service Providers (ISP) are required to be members of an ADR scheme (i.e. CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications). The schemes are free for consumers to access and designed to supplement (not replace) an ISPs own internal complaints procedure(s), although they are usually only used after a dispute has gone unresolved for 8 weeks (see our ISP Complaints and Advice section).

Ofcom Statement

Ofcom’s evidence suggests that Care Free has not been a member of an ADR Scheme since at least 28 March 2017. We also have reasonable grounds to believe that, before its membership was terminated, Care Free failed to comply with a number of final decisions that had been made under the ADR Scheme by the deadline stated.

Care Free now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification before Ofcom makes a final decision, in accordance with section 96C of the Act.

Care Free’s website includes a complaints document (here), which was last updated on 1st January 2017, and this states that they are or were members of Ombudsman Services. A quick look at the Companies House records for the provider also shows that they’ve been through various changes of address (the ME14 1NY used on their website is no longer their registered address) and received a notice for compulsory strike-off during August 2017, which was discontinued a day later.

Ofcom expects to issue their final ruling by the end of April 2018, which could potentially hit the provider with a hefty fine and / or force them to make changes.

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