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Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below some questions which are asked on a regular basis by CISAS customers, and the answers we have provided for information purposes.

Our full list of members is found on our companies list. CISAS membership is growing fast, and therefore it is worth checking the page on a regular basis. If a company is a member they will be shown on the membership page. If they say they are a member but are not on the page please let us know as soon as possible.

No, you can only complain in certain circumstances that are laid out within the scope of CISAS. These circumstances can be found in the guidance notes.

You can use CISAS if you are a consumer or a small business with an unresolved complaint against a member of CISAS, but only if you are a customer of that member. A small business is defined by Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, as a business with 10 or fewer employees. If you are a business with more than ten employees, and you are claiming more than £10,000, please contact CISAS for further information.

You should first of all let the company know that you have a problem with them. The company then has up to eight weeks to either try and settle that problem with you or to issue you with a deadlock letter, which will refer you to us. If you come to us before going to the company then we will be unable to handle your complaint and will refer you to the company.

If more than eight weeks has passed since you told the company of your problem and you have still not had your complaint resolved to your satisfaction, you may then come direct to us. In certain circumstances, where your company is a member of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), you may be able to ask ISPA to try and settle the dispute before coming to us. The ISPA service is also free of charge and has a high success rate.

If you have not yet complained to your company you should be able to find details on how to complain to them either on their website, in their Code of Practice, or in your terms and conditions.

The eight weeks run from the date you complain to the company. This can be verbal or in writing, although it may be better for you if you complain in writing as you then have a record of having made the complaint as not all companies may keep records of telephone calls. "In writing" includes by email.

The cost of taking an application through CISAS is borne by the company, and the only cost to you is in preparing and submitting you case, for example, photocopying and postage.

The only difference between applying online or by post is that it may be more convenient for you to apply online. This is especially the case if you wish to take your time completing the application form and if you have all of your evidence available in electronic format. Just because you apply online however, does not mean that you have to continue online, you can choose to use the post, email or telephone later on.

We will provide you with an application form which includes a check list to alert you to the type of information we require.

We will act as a post box and collect information from you and the company. We will then appoint an independent adjudicator who will read the documentation and make a decision. If the adjudicator requires any additional information they may contact you by telephone, email, post or fax and the information will be copied by the adjudicator to the other party.

If you are unhappy with the adjudicator's decision you may reject it. The adjudicator's decision only becomes binding if you accept it within six weeks of being told what the decision is. The decision cannot be appealed, only accepted or rejected by you - if you accept it the company has to take the required action.

CISAS is administered CEDR Services Ltd, an Ofcom approved dispute resolution provider.

Either party has a right to enter into settlement negotiations at any time before the adjudicator makes a decision. Negotiations are private discussions between the parties and you should correspond directly with the company and not through us. If you do settle, we need the company to let us know in writing and we will call you to make sure that you have settled. You should note that if you do settle and the company fails to take the agreed action you should tell us and we may be able to re-open the case. You can also pursue the company in court.

The target set by Ofcom is six weeks from receipt of the application to publication of the decision to the parties. We aim to complete 88% of all cases within six weeks. A further six weeks is allowed for you to decide whether or not you wish to accept the decision. Research shows that most consumers who accept the decision (80% of consumers) do so within ten days of receipt of the decision. It is also worth bearing in mind that about 6 out of 10 cases settle during the adjudication.

Yes. A key feature of CISAS is that it is transparent and both parties see everything submitted by the other party and have the opportunity to comment upon it.

If your company is not a member of CISAS then they may either be a member of Ombudsmann Services Limited or they may not yet be a member of an approved ADR service. In this case you should refer them to Ofcom.

Of course. Our staff are available to assist in the completion of forms. Further assistance is available from the Citizens Advice Bureau and other consumer help groups, details of which are available from the Advice Now website.

CISAS is operated by CEDR Services Ltd, which is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998.

CISAS: Independence, Integrity, Impartiality
by Ofcom

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution
70 Fleet Street

T: +44 (0)20 7520 3814
F: 0845 1308 117