Whilst I am not sure we can publish their initial decision, I am happy to publish some of our comments to them and a summary of the shortfalls.
The first part of our reply is :-
But the apparent shortfalls are as follows :-The claimant has stated to the court in their defence of Reading case XXXXXXX that they referred the matter to the Ombudsman service (Communications) on 9th January 2012. This agrees with the details of complaint statement you sent us. Unless you are accusing the claimant of perjury then this means that the matter is outside the 9 month limit defined in 9.1(c). As there are no exceptional reasons to justify the delay this puts the Ombudsman service in breach of terms with us by accepting this case. We require you to drop the case and refund the case fee. If you do not do so within 30 days we will start proceedings in the county court against you without further notice. We will also claim compensation for our time handling this case.
- An installed line without annex M is too slow. Annex M was added afterwards. Note we don't guarantee line speeds so not actually a shortfall as we did not agree a target and fall short of it.
- Some of the dates we advised for likely install of orders changed and were inconsistent. We basically passed on what details we had as orders progressed, and did not guarantee the dates. Apparently this is bad. We have asked if they would prefer we don't pass on information we get in case it is ever inconsistent and if that would be better customer service some how.
- We apparently did not reply to an email - given the case file was something like 500 pages of email I am not surprised some were missed. I am not happy about it, and more than happy to apologise for losing an email. It did not change the outcome of anything or delay anything. And as we never guaranteed any response times for emails, not a shortfall. We did reply to their follow up email. Note that the ombudsman service clearly think not replying to every email is perfectly acceptable as that is what they do to us - in fact not replying to most emails we have sent.
- We finally managed to get all 4 lines with annex M installed in time for the event. Even the ombudsman's decision starts by saying they wanted service "in time for the Royal Wedding", which we managed. Apparently meeting the stated deadline even though not contractually required to is a "shortfall".
- We billed for services from the date they were supplied. Somehow this is an error and a shortfall. We are at a loss on that one.
- One more case later of apparently not replying to an email promptly.
Our main issues are :-
- They accepted a case that was outside the 9 month limit; was already resolved (in that the £6.69 claimed had been settled); was already resolved in that the proposed resolution of "let out of contract without penalty" had already been done; and that was a frivolous case (£6.69).
- When they took the case they failed to look for a mutually acceptable resolution and ignored the statement from the customer to them that they would be happy with being let out of contract without penalty and also our statement to them that we agreed that.
- They invented targets we did not offer or agree and that the customer did not even ask for, and then penalise us for not meeting them.
- The ignore contract law which is that there is no requirement for us to compensate someone where we are not in breach of contract
- The ignore the contract which limits what we are liable for and make an award for much more
- They make a punitive award even though not allowed
- The invent a figure of £500 with no explanation and call it good will, which is contradiction if forced to pay it.
- They insist services from 31st May be credited even though the customer asked for them, used them, and has not disputed them. We have an email in June stating "we want to continue with the service". They do not explain why they are saying this. They also say to waive all late payment charges even though invoices are still not paid even now.
- They considered and acted on numerous issues with actually post date the complaint date. i.e. This case is to resolve an unresolved complaint that was made on 17th March 2011, but many of the shortfalls and remedies appear to relate to things later than that date which were never part of that complaint and have not even been part of a later complaint.
So, an 11 page formal response is being posted to them today, including the threat of legal action against the ombudsman. We'll see what happens next.
Actually, just to condense facts to the key points here...
- Customers asks A&A for complicated service (4 line uplink annex M bonded) "in time for the Royal Wedding"
- A&A delivers exactly what is wanted "in time for the Royal Wedding" and customer is happy with what was delivered so much so he wants to continue the service after the event.
- Customer thinks A&A over charged £6.69
- A&A credit customer £272.17