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News : EE Fined by Ofcom for Misleading Customers
London, UK, July 3, 2015 -- The communications regulator has imposed a fine on EE, Britain’s mobile phone operator, for misleading customers who made complaints.
The fine, which will be passed to the Treasury, is Ofcom’s largest penalty for poor complaints handling in any industry and the regulator’s fifth biggest overall.
Ofcom said between July 2011 and April 2014 EE had failed to give certain dissatisfied customers correct or adequate information about their rights. The customers used EE’s mobile, landline and broadband services, Ofcom said.
The company, which is being bought by BT, did not tell some of its customers that their complaint could be decided by an independent adjudicator. Ofcom did not reveal how many customers were misinformed.
EE, whose brands include Orange and T-Mobile, sent letters to customers that did not inform them of their right to take a complaint to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) after eight weeks.
If mobile phone customers are unhappy with the way their operator is handling a complaint earlier than eight weeks into the dispute, they can write a "deadlock letter" giving notice that they intend to seek an independent judgment.
EE’s customer complaints code did not say customers could go to ADR by requesting the deadlock letter. Some customers who asked for the letter either did not receive them or were told by EE that it did not issue such letters.
The company also failed to tell customers they could use its ADR scheme for free.
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."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Where Is The Problem?
More Editorial From EE
Everything Everywhere Limited, trading as EE, is a mobile network operator and internet service provider company headquartered in Hatfield, United Kingdom.
Ofcom is the UK's communications regulator.
Published: Monday, July 6, 2015