UK Mobile Firm Three Fined £250,000 By Ofcom Over Customer Complaints Handling

October 8, 2014 - Written By John Anon

In the UK Three is one of the leading mobile carriers and if you are UK based will certainly know (and probably have used the company). If nothing else you would have seen their recent TV spots like the mock-up apology adverts with the hashtag #holidayspam or the singing cat advert with the #SingItKitty tag. However, although their adverts seem quite friendly and customer focused it now seems their actual customer service leaves little to be desired. Ofcom is an independent regulator for the UK communications industries and has today announced they have formally fined Three £250,000 (just over $400,000) for the way in which they have dealt with customer complaints previously.

According to Ofcom, back in the spring of 2013 an investigation was launched into allegations against Three for the way in which they processed and concluded customer complaints. The announcement states that Three did not deal with customers complaints in a “fair and timely manner”. In addition, Three were found to have been closing complaints without the company actually establishing whether or not the complaint had been fully resolved. In other cases Three were said to have not logged complaints from customers when it should have done so. According to Ofcom, in these instances, concerns raised by customers “were not entered into, or treated in line with, Three’s formal complaints process”. Ofcom also added that due to these breaches customers were not advised correctly or made “sufficiently aware” of their right to take forward their complaints to an ‘alternative dispute resolution’ (ADR). This was also further Echoed by Ofcom stating Three did not provide information on the ADR in correspondence sent to customers such as paper bills, which is a requirement of all UK communications providers.

Since the investigation commenced, Ofcom did note Three did respond to their claims in a proactive manner. Three did make attempts to rectify the issues (where possible) and have since taken steps to make sure it is now in-line with its complaints handling obligations. Due to these recent attempts to remedy the situation Ofcom decided to only fine Three the £250,000 figure which could have been higher if Three had not been as cooperative as they was. Three now have thirty days to pay the fine and if you are wondering where the money goes. Well, according to Ofcom it will be passed on to the HM Treasury. Any Three customers out there? How have you found their customer service with dealing with complaints?