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Code of Practice for Handling Complaints

Sometimes issues raised by consumers with their Electronic Communications Service Provider may not be resolved after the first attempt and may lead to the consumer raising a complaint with their service provider to try to have the issue resolved. Service Providers are already required to implement a code of practice for complaint handling, however, not all consumers (including businesses) are aware of the code of practice or what is required of service providers.

On Friday 30 June, ComReg published its Decision on new minimum requirements for Service Providers’ codes of practice for complaint handling. Service Providers must implement the following new measures, at a minimum, to assist consumers (including businesses) when they need to contact them with a complaint.

  1. To make it easier for consumers to make a complaint, the Service Provider is required to provide:
    – A Freephone number or a landline or mobile number or a number that is free to all consumers
    – An electronic means of contact – i.e. an email address or an online complaint form where the consumer can attach documents to send to the service provider if they need to as part of their complaint. The electronic means of contact should have no word character restrictions and the consumer must be provided with a record of the complaint in a durable form.
    – An address to write to the service provider.
  2.  Consumers cannot be transferred to any other section of the service providers business if the call costs more than the cost of a call to a landline number or a mobile number
  3. A complaint must be acknowledged within two working days and the acknowledgement must include details of the link to the Service Provider’s code of practice and a unique reference number that allows the complaint to be logged and tracked.
  4. A complaint must be responded to /resolved within ten working days. When a resolution cannot be provided within 10 working days, the consumer must be given a timeframe for resolution, the details of the service provider’s internal escalation process and contact details for the escalation team (e mail address) and ComReg’s details.
  5. A complaint must be recorded and tracked.

Service Provider’s must also specify in their code of practice the mechanism where-by consumers (including business’s) can avail of a refund if appropriate to the complaint.
A link to the code of practice must be published on the home page of the Service Provider’s website and the code must be able to be located by consumers using certain search words on the service provider’s website – for example ‘complaint’ or ‘how to make a complaint’.

Please note: These new requirements must be implemented by 1 January 2018.

For more information see Electronic Communications Complaints Handling Code of Practice

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