Mobile service provider Three has been ordered to pay a £250,000 fine by telecommunications ombudsman Ofcom after the company failed to deal with customer complains in a “fair and timely manner”.
The complaints, which date back to the beginning of 2013, were not properly logged, and customer service operatives failed to inform clients that their complaints could be escalated to an ombudsman.
Ofcom representative, Claudio Pollack, said: “When things go wrong, customers are not only entitled to complain to their provider, but must have confidence that their complaint will be dealt with fairly. That’s why we impose strict rules on providers on how they must handle complaints. We treat any failure to follow these rules very seriously. The fine imposed on Three takes account of the shortcomings in its complaints handling, but reflects that the harm to consumers in this case was limited.”
According to a spokesman for Three, the company has been working closely with Ofcom since the complaints were lodged, to ensure that cases are dealt with and escalated in the proper manner. Ofcom has corroborated the statement, confirming that Three has now updated its complaints process and that the company now enjoyed the lowest rate of complaints of any mobile operator.
The fine, which will be paid direct to the Treasury, should act as a wake-up call to other service providers, and not just those in the mobile industry; Ofgem, the industry regulator for energy companies has issued a broad warning that it will hand out similar fines if domestic complaints are not handled appropriately.