The following is our guidance on how to instigate a formal complaint, in the unlikely event of a problem or misunderstanding. We are fully committed to addressing all complaints promptly and amicably and in a reasonable timeframe. We will always inform you if there is a service outage or break that is due to something we have done. From time to time things that are outside of our control may break and have an impact on the service we provide. Whilst we take every precaution to minimise any impact third party provision or work may impart on our service, we cannot be held responsible for such an occurrence. Our contract terms are designed to avoid any confusion so please do take a few moments to read through our terms carefully before considering any type of legal dispute. We will also use your feedback to improve our service where we can.
You must be a current customer in order to make use of our customer complaints code.
Step 1: Talk to us
The first step is to talk to us. If you have any issue at all then please let us know as soon you can. This can be done in any of the following ways…
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone: 020 3519 0000
Or via post:
FAO: Complaints Manager
1-4 Argyll Street
Our response framework to your complaint is as follows:
By email: Your email will be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt and we aim to resolve your complaint within 28 days of receipt.
By phone: We will try our best to resolve your complaint during your initial phone call.
However, where this is not possible, we will agree a course of action with you and provide you, where possible, with clear timeframes and next steps for the resolution of your complaint.
Via post: Your letter will be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt. We aim to resolve all written complaints within 28 days of receipt.
When we receive your complaint, we will aim to resolve it to your satisfaction. If a complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction you may ask our front line staff to escalate the issue to their line manager on your behalf.
Step 2: Escalation
If, after escalation to a line manager, you feel we have still not dealt with your complaint appropriately, please ask for your complaint to be reviewed by a Senior Manager. We settle most complaints by this stage but, if not, we will explain our final position. In some cases, we might send you a ‘deadlock’ letter. This means there’s nothing more we can do. If, after following the process explained above, you are still not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you can refer your complaint to independent adjudication.
Step 3: Alternate Dispute Resolution (arbitration)
For consumers and businesses of 10 or less employees that are not a communications provider
If a dispute relates to telecommunications services, and is not resolved within 8 weeks of making a formal claim (as above), you can take the matter to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Alternative Dispute Resolution is a process allowing a dispute to be resolved without going to court, and the arbitrator does not charge you for this. The arbitrator (OS) is a separate company.
Defining your complaint clearly (in step 1) will help you provide clear details of your exact claim to the arbitrator.
If you are not a consumer or small business, or if you are a communications provider as defined by the Communications Act, or if your have not followed our customer complaints code, then our contract with you does not allow you to use the arbitrator. This is a matter of our contract terms and not something the arbitrator can decide as they have no right to even consider your case if it is not in our contract for you to use an arbitrator in the first place.
Claims the arbitrator will not consider. There are a number of types of complaint that the arbitrator will not consider.
- Claims where you have not notified us in accordance with this customer complaints code.
- Frivolous or vexatious claims.
- Disputes over our terms and conditions – importantly these include our limitation of liability for any errors we make, and the fact we do not guarantee install dates or line speeds or quality of customer service.
- Any services that are not covered by the scheme (i.e. telecommunications service) so not covering any equipment we supply.
- Claims that are outside certain specific time scales.
If, for any reason, you are unable to take a claim to ADR (e.g. a communications provider, or a business over 10 employees), you are welcome to use the small claims court at your expense. Please notify us of your intentions first as per normal court procedures.
If you have started a formal complaint/claim/dispute, and it is resolved, we will ask you to confirm that you agree the matter is now resolved. Credits for good will, billing errors or compensation are conditional on your agreement that the matter is fully resolved by that credit. If we owe you money as a result, it will not be paid until you confirm the matter is fully resolved. If you do not, then we will cancel the credit issued and you will have to take the matter further, to court or ADR.
Note that we cannot use ADR to resolve a dispute we have with you (i.e. where you owe us money). In such cases we will issue proceedings in the County Court small claims track if you refuse to pay, as per normal business practice.
Further help and advice can be obtained from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, but just to let you know, this is not part of the formal complaint process.
IMPORTANT: To start a formal claim, which could later be taken to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or court, you will need to provide some specific details of your claim:
- The service you are claiming an issue with
- The exact amount you are claiming and how you worked it out
- If it was not a breach of contract you have no claim.
- For any claim relating to an on-going service that was not working for a period, then, for each specific service (i.e. broadband is separate from annex M etc) tell us what you paid for the service while it was not working.
- If the dispute is about a delay providing a service, state how and when we promised to provide service by a specific date; the date we did in fact provide it; and, the date from which we started billing you. If we did not promise a date then you cannot claim for delay, only billing errors. We start billing for each service from when it is provided.
- If the dispute is over when you ceased a service, then please provide supporting evidence and confirmation that we received the cessation/cancellation request. Along with any other relevant details if you backed this request up via telephone or letter. If you don’t have a cessation or cancellation confirmation from us then you have not successfully requested a cessation or cancellation of service and will be required to continue payment, in line with the contractual terms existing, until you have successfully submitted such a request and had this request confirmed by us in writing or via email response.
Alternate Dispute Resolution
Ombudsman Services can be contacted in any of the following ways:
By email: email@example.com
By Phone: 0330 440 1614
By Fax: 0330 440 1615
Ombudsman Services: Communications
PO Box 730