Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has fined EE £1 million ($1.5 million) for failing to correctly handle customer complaints.
The watchdog found that EE had not provided a way to access an alternative dispute resolution for three years, between 22 July 2011 and 8 April 2014.
In the United Kingdom, the alternative dispute resolution scheme allows customers to take complaints that cannot be resolved with their provider to an independent body for resolution.
EE also didn’t provide information in its Customer Complaints Code or provide ‘deadlock letters’ as required. Deadlock letters are an acknowledgement of when a stalemate is reached and a resolution cannot be found.
All telecommunications providers are required to follow Ofcom’s Code of Practice for complaints handling and tackle them in a “fair and timely manner.”
EE is required to pay the fine of £1 million within 20 working days.
Update: EE responded to the ruling with this statement:
This fine relates to our historic performance regarding complaints handling, collected from 2011 to April 2014. While this in no way excuses it, it is important to note that we identified issues in our complaints handling and began our programme to tackle these problems head on in 2013, before Ofcom started their investigation. We have made considerable improvements since then.
Ofcom’s current figures highlight that mobile complaints into Ofcom about EE have fallen by 50% in the past year alone and, while even 1 complaint is 1 too many, we’re working tirelessly not only to improve the handling of complaints but also to identify root causes, and fix problems customers have with us, to ultimately achieve our goal of offering the best service in the market.