EE hit with Ofcom fine for improper customer complaints handling

UK communications watchdog Ofcom has fined mobile operator EE £1 million for not communicating with its clients properly in regard of the customer complaints process.

During Ofcom's investigation into EE's business practices, which took place between 22 July 2011 and 8 April 2014, it found that the mobile operator failed to send out written notifications to some of its customers about their right to take their complaint to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, eight weeks after their first complaint.

EE's ADR scheme could be accessed by Orange, T-Mobile and 4GEE customers for free.

EE had failed to state in its Customer Complaints Code that customers were allowed to access EE's own ADR scheme by requesting a deadlock letter if the mobile operator and the customer could not come to a resolution about the problem, and that the number of customers who did request such a letter did not receive it, IBTimes wrote in a report.

Apparently, some customers who requested the deadlock letter were told by EE staff that letters of this type were not issued at all.

"It's vital that customers can access all the information they need when they're pursuing a complaint," said Ofcom's Consumer and Content Group Director Claudio Pollack.

"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."