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Ofcom rules company breached code

EE fined £1m for failures in customer complaints

EEMobile phone operator EE has been fined £1 million for failing to comply with the regulator’s rules on handling customer complaints.

Ofcom found that over the period investigated – July 2011 to April 2014 – EE did not provide certain customers with accurate or adequate information about their right to take their complaint to an independent body.

Complaints can be taken to the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme if they remain unresolved after eight weeks or if a stalemate, or ‘deadlock,’ is reached between the customer and the provider before eight weeks.

Ofcom said EE, trading as Orange and T-Mobile, failed to inform customers that they could access its ADR scheme by requesting a ‘deadlock letter’ and that it was free to access

A number of customers who had requested a ‘deadlock letter’ during this time were not sent them as required, and in some cases customers were told by EE that letters of this type were not issued.

The penalty is payable to Ofcom and then passed on to the Treasury. EE is required to pay the penalty within 20 working days of receiving the decision.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer and content group director, said: “It’s vital that customers can access all the information they need when they’re pursuing a complaint.

“Ofcom imposes strict rules on how providers must handle complaints and treats any breach of these rules very seriously. The fine imposed against EE takes account of the serious failings that occurred in the company’s complaints handling, and the extended period over which these took place.”

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