Telecoms Ombudsman handles ‘lots and lots’ of complaints

Can you put a fugure on that?

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The Oftel-backed Telecoms Ombudsman has received a rubber stamp from the regulator to go-ahead and resolve industry disputes.

The "seal of approval" - a necessity under the recently introduced Communications Act apparently - means that the Ombudsman has "met a rigorous set of criteria set out by Oftel to provide a free, independent and effective service to consumers who are unable to resolve complaints directly with their telephone company".

In fact, under the Act telcos have to offer an Oftel-approved alternative dispute resolution procedure to their customers, other than their own internal complaints system.

But they don't have to use the Telecoms Ombudsman - aka "Otelo" - if they don't want to. In fact, two other so far unnamed organisations are currently in the process of seeking approval to offer dispute resolution services.

So far Nineteen companies have signed up to Otelo, representing 95 per cent of the fixed line market and 30 per cent of the mobile market with several other companies waiting in line to join.

So, how have things been since the Ombudsman opened its doors for business in January? Well, it's already dealt with a wide range of complaints including mis-selling, billing and customer service issues.

And how many complaints has it received? "Lots and lots," said a spokesman.

Hmmm. "Lots and lots" hey? That is a lot.

Never mind, our spokesman was far more precise on the number of complaints it had received about ISPs. Exactly none - so far. ®

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