Four service providers Genesis Communications, Prodigy Networks, ADSL4LESS and GEO Internet had an Ofcom investigation opened on them in August 2005, which closed on 15th February 2006. The investigation was because these providers had failed to implement an approved Alternate Dispute Resolution Scheme (ADR) at the time the investigation started.
Genesis Communications have now joined an approved scheme, but the remaining three have not and Ofcom is considering its course of action. Potentially we may see Ofcom imposing a fine of up to 10% of the companies turnover.
Two approved ADR schemes exist, www.otelo.org.uk and www.cisas.org.uk. The schemes exist for when a consumer is unable to get a complaint dealt with by their service provider, one key point is that the ADR schemes cannot be brought into play until a three month period since the start of the complaint has elapsed. Though it can happen sooner if the company agrees to going to the ADR scheme.
The three months waiting period is a long time for a consumer, particularly in cases where the complaint is about problems with an ISP releasing the service so a customer can move to another provider. Hopefully as part of its investigations into migrations, Ofcom will look into how the ADR schemes actually work out in practice.
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