ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) has been a pain in my side, even though we have only had one case. The injustice of that one case in so many ways really hit home for me, and made me re-think my views on justice and fairness.
OFCOM have done a periodic review, and we have replied (here).
Given the importance we place on providing the service we sell, being clear on what we sell, and importantly of the customer service we offer (just see ispreview reviews) it is annoying that we have to contend with ADR at all.
ADR is designed to be unfair, i.e. biased to one side (the consumer) from the start by ensuring fees are paid by ISP regardless of validity of the claim. But it is more so in that the ADR provider has power to decide their jurisdiction, and make up rules as they wish and impose payments. They even impose costs and payments when they agree the ISP is not in breach of contract (a "win" in any "real" court).
There is a lot to be said for ensuring customers have a means to tackle problems with their providers. Ironically, where we (or my family) have been on the other side, arguing with a telco, we have also found ADR lacking! It failed to provide a way to resolve a dispute even though charging the telco!
One of the biggest issues I see of late is that OFCOM propose to allow ADR cases where the customer is unhappy over compensation under new OFCOM proposed automatic compensation. The automatic compensation only applies in some specific cases (e.g. faults must be "total loss of service") which are sensible. But making it possible for someone to go to ADR because they feel they deserve compensation in other cases, or more than prescribed amounts, makes it a waste of time making those rules. ADR costing an ISP over £300 even if they win means customers can just demand amounts up to that and know many ISPs will cave rather than pay more to prove they are in the right. What is worse is that this is beyond what the law requires OFCOM to insist ISPs offer by way of ADR.
We'll see how OFCOM react. We believe ISPA have similar concerns.
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