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Ofcom Updates E7even ISP Case
By: MarkJ - 17 August, 2006 (1:09 PM)

Perhaps somewhat debunking the phrase that "it's never too late", Ofcom has finally updated its investigation into E7even's billing for services and adherence to its Code of Practice for handling complaints.:

Ofcom's investigation found that there were reasonable grounds for believing that E7even contravened the regulatory rule requiring communications providers to establish and maintain an approved Code of Practice for the handling of complaints (General Condition 14.2), and failing to issue compensation promised to customers.

Ofcom's investigation also found that there were reasonable grounds for believing that E7even contravened the regulatory rule requiring E7even to be a member of an alternative dispute resolution scheme (“ADR scheme”) so that customers could benefit from the protection that access to an ADR scheme provides (General Condition 14.4).

Specifically, E7even has failed and is failing to comply with the conditions of membership of the Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (“ Otelo”), including final decisions made by Otelo in relation to complaints about broadband services supplied to its customers.

The Section 94 notification issued by Ofcom requires E7even to comply with the requirements of General Conditions 14.2 and 14.4, and to remedy fully any consequences arising from its failure to comply with those General Conditions.

Ofcom has reserved its position with respect to a further regulatory rule requiring that communications providers not render bills to customers unless the bill accurately reflects the true extent of the services provided (General Condition 11.1) and will consider whether to take action under this General Condition once it has seen whether consumers are able to secure adequate outcomes as a result of this Notification.

Given that E7even is now required to comply with regulatory rules and to remedy any consequences of its failure to comply, Ofcom would expect that the steps E7even takes may include, but are not limited to:

* complying with all relevant rules of membership of Otelo for its period of membership, including payment of case fees and complying with past and present decisions, including payment of compensation to consumers and small business customers;

* joining a Dispute Resolution Scheme, either Otelo or CISAS, to ensure that consumers have access to a body that can resolve their individual complaints regarding E7even; and

* ensuring that it complies with an approved code of practice for handling complaints.

E7even has until 18 September 2006 to comply, to remedy any consequences and to make representations to Ofcom.

If E7even does not comply, Ofcom will consider whether further enforcement action, including a fine, is appropriate.

Unfortunately it's a little bit late now that E7even's broadband customers have all been moved over to a new ISP, although oddly the company itself still remains active and thus technically accountable.

We'll be very interested to see whether Ofcom gets any life out of E7even, which has persistently behaved like a duck with acute bird flue. Correction, sick ducks are usually more reliable at customer support.


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