CEDR provides an adjudication service for its subscribers who have reached deadlock with their business customers. The process is entirely voluntary and both parties must complete a declaration, consenting to use the service. The adjudication process is designed to be cost effective, efficient and fair. Similar to CEDR’s CISAS scheme, claims in relation to B2B are resolved by an independent, impartial and professional adjudicator who will consider the parties’ submissions, evidence and the law to reach a fair and reasonable conclusion. The service is a documents-only process and CEDR’s commercial case managers are readily available to guide the parties through the process.
Once payment of the fee is made, the process begins by CEDR issuing a notice of adjudication and a claim form to the customer. Upon receipt of the completed claim form, an assessment is conducted by CEDR to check the validity of the claim. If the matter is deemed to be within scope, the customer’s claim is sent to the company. The company then has 10 working days to submit a defence and during this period further evidence and comments can be issued by the parties which the adjudicator will accept at their discretion.
An opportunity to settle is provided during the 10 day period and if accepted, no further action is taken by CEDR and the matter is closed. Should the parties proceed to adjudication, CEDR aims to issue a decision within 30 days. Once the decision is made, it is binding on both parties.
For further information about CISAS B2B please contact Emma Lucas, Commercial Dispute Services Manager on:
T: +44 (0) 20 7536 6060
Effectively manage customer complaints
Ofcom requires complaints processes to be easily accessible and which comply with their guidelines. By having measures in place, communication providers can effectively and efficiently manage complaints and the expectations of dissatisfied customers, minimising the chances of deadlock. Add value to your internal processes and comply with Ofcom’s guidelines by implementing the below:
- having a hardcopy complaints process with standard Ts&Cs; which should signpost your customers on how to use CISAS and the eight week timeframe
- a procedure which is easy to understand, concise and which contains relevant information about your complaints handling process
- as a minimum, you should state the steps you will take to investigate and resolve the complaint, the timeframes in which such action will be taken and when contact will next be made
- your complaints process should state details of how the customer may make contact, including low cost numbers
- ensuring you are “sufficiently accessible” for disabled consumers and their representatives
- your customer complaints code should be accessible via your website and should be provided free of charge to customers
- at least two of the following options should be available to customers:
- a “free to call number”
- a UK postal address
- an email or internet web form
- allowing for reasonable escalation from fully informed front line staff to managers within a timely manner
When should you signpost customers to CISAS?
Having exhausted the complaints process, if you find your customer remains dissatisfied and you are unable to reach a resolution, the next step is to escalate the complaint to independent adjudication, CISAS.
Ofcom requires communication providers to signpost their customers and to meet General Condition 14 which includes:
- ADR details must be stated on paper bills to all domestic /residential customers
- If the complaint falls within the scope of CISAS, Ofcom requires you to provide a Deadlock letter
- Signpost your customers to CISAS in the Deadlock letter or 8 week letter if unresolved
- Signposting must be clear and concise
- Provide details of CISAS web link, telephone number and postal address, stating that it is a free and independent service for customers
- Provide evidence of signposting to CISAS
*Ofcom may impose a penalty of up to 10% of turnover for non-compliance