EE hit with £1m fine over complaint failures

EE has been fined �1 million for "serious failings" in handling customer complaints
EE has been fined �1 million for "serious failings" in handling customer complaints
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Ofcom has fined EE £1m for failures relating to customer complaint handling.

The UK’s largest mobile network, which was formed in 2010 through a merger of Orange and T-Mobile, failed to provide “accurate or adequate information” about their options, the telecoms regulator said.

An investigation into the provider’s conduct between July 22 2011 and April 8 2014 found EE did not write to customers about their right to take complaints to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme eight weeks after their first complaint.

EE also failed to put details of the ADR scheme in its customer complaints code and did not tell customers the service is free, Ofcom said.

Some customers that requested a ‘deadlock letter’, which is required to proceed with ADR, did not receive them.

ADR allows consumers to refer complaints to an independent body after eight weeks if there has been no resolution to their complaint.

The scheme is free of charge and must be offered by all communications providers.

Since the investigation, EE has amended its customer complaints code and information on its paper bills, Ofcom said.

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.”

EE’s owners, Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA, agreed the sale of the network to BT in February for £12.5bn.

The merger is expected to go ahead by 2016 if it is approved by competition regulators.