Service Provider Codes of Practice and Complaints Procedures

The Universal Service Regulations state that a service provider must have a code of practice for handling complaints.  You should be able to get a copy of your service provider’s complaints code of practice on their website or by calling their helpline.

A service provider’s code of practice should provide for the following:

• the first point of contact for complainants;
• a means of recording complaints;
• a time frame within which the service provider concerned shall respond to complaints;
• procedures for resolving complaints including how to escalate your complaint;
• appropriate cases where reimbursement of payments, and payments in settlement of losses incurred, will be made;
• the retention of records of complaints (for a period of not less than one year following the resolution of the complaint).

Complaining to your service provider

You should always first contact your service provider if you have a complaint or a query. Each service provider’s complaints code of practice sets out the procedure customers need to follow for making a complaint and the level of service that a customer can expect. Service providers should provide a copy of their complaints code of practice to any customer who requests a copy. Most service providers have a copy available on their website.

When you make a complaint to your provider

• Be clear about the problem and give details.
• Give the service provider a chance to resolve your complaint.
• Keep a record of the date and time that you make your complaint.
• Ask for a reference number for your complaint.
• Make a note of any promises that were made by the service provider.

If you are not satisfied with the initial response to your complaint, you can request that the complaint is escalated to a higher level within the organisation, again how you do this should be outlined in the “code”.

What happens if you don’t feel your complaint is being handled properly?

If you are not happy with how your complaint was handled, you can ask for your complaint to be ‘escalated’. This means your complaint is brought to a higher level within the organisation.
Generally, this means that your complaint is passed to the service provider’s ‘second-line support teams’. This might be a team leader or manager who will help with more complicated consumer complaints.

What happens if your service provider doesn’t resolve your complaint?

If you still feel that your complaint has not been dealt with properly after using your service provider’s complaint procedures, ComReg may be able to help you. We can seek to resolve disputes between consumers and service providers where the service providers own dispute resolution process has broken down.