Dispute resolution


Dispute resolution logoCommunications providers offering services to individuals and small businesses (up to 10 employees) must be members of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Scheme.

ADR schemes act as an independent middleman between the service provider and the customer when an initial complaint cannot be resolved. You do not need legal representation to take your case to an ADR scheme.

The ADR scheme will look at your arguments, and your provider's, and come to a decision it thinks is fair. Usually an ADR scheme will come to a decision within six weeks, but it can take longer, depending on the complexity of the case, and the information provided by the parties.

If the ADR scheme agrees with your complaint it can order the service provider to fix the problem, make a payment to you, or take other practical steps. The ADR scheme's decision is final and binding on the provider. It cannot be appealed or overturned. However, if you choose not to accept the decision made by the ADR scheme, you are still free to seek legal advice.

There are two ADR schemes – Ombudsman Services: Communications (OS), and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). All service providers must belong to one of the schemes.

Your provider will tell you which scheme it is a member of, or you can use our ADR checker.

If your provider does not belong to an ADR scheme but you believe they should (and you're an individual or small business), please fill out our complaint form.

The ADR schemes operate independently of Ofcom and of the communications providers. If you have used the schemes and are unhappy with the service you have received, you can complain to Ombudsman Services or complain to CISAS. An independent assessor may look at your complaint, but please note that they cannot overturn the final decision made by the ADR scheme.

ADR schemes' performance

In the statement concluding our 2017 Review of CISAS and OS (PDF, 331.9 KB), we committed to publish both schemes’ key performance indicator (KPI) results on a quarterly basis. This ensures that stakeholders have greater awareness of, and can scrutinise, the schemes’ performances.

See the KPIs that we measure and the schemes' performances for each quarter from Q2 2017 below.

OS performance against KPIs

KPI

Q2 2017

(April – June)

Q3 2017

(July – September)

Q4 2017

(October – December)

Q1 2018

(January – March)

More than 80% of calls to be answered in less than two minutes

84%

82%

87%

95%

More than 90% of calls to be answered in less than five minutes

98%

98%

99%

100%

100% of written correspondence to be replied to within ten days

100%

100%

100%

100%

More than 90% of case decisions* to be issued within six weeks of the case being accepted

92%

98%

98%

98%

Less than 1% of case decisions* to be issued later than eight weeks after the case has been accepted

>1%

<1%

<1%

<1%

CISAS performance against KPIs

KPI

Q2 2017

(April – June)

Q3 2017

(July – September)

Q4 2017

(October – December)

Q1 2018

(January – March)

More than 80% of calls to be answered in less than two minutes

91%

87%

100%

99%

More than 90% of calls to be answered in less than five minutes

98%

98%

100%

99%

100% of written correspondence to be replied to within ten days

100%

100%

100%

100%

More than 90% of case decisions* to be issued within six weeks of the case being accepted

100%

100%

56%

82%

Less than 1% of case decisions* to be issued later than eight weeks after the case has been accepted

<1%

<1%

>1%

>1%

*It should be noted that due to the schemes’ differing processes, the decisions issued for CISAS represent their final decision whereas, for OS, it represents the point at which an initial decision is issued.