Complain about phone, internet and TV
With so much choice of phone, internet and TV services, it can be confusing to know what protections you have, how to make a complaint and who to turn to if you need more help.
There are strict rules in place to make sure that telecommunication providers treat you fairly before, during, and after you sign up to a service. If things go wrong, first complain directly to the service provider. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can refer your complaint to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).
ComReg is a statutory body responsible for regulating the electronic communications sector (ECS) and the postal sector in Ireland. ECS includes telecommunications, radio communications, broadcasting transmission and premium rate services. You can find out more about the regulation of phone, internet and TV.
What to know before making a complaint
ECS service providers are required to have a Code of Practice. Part of the Code includes rules on minimum standards that service providers must comply with, to make it easier for you to make a complaint. Providers must have:
- A freephone number, landline, mobile number or a number that is free to all consumers
- An electronic way to contact them, such as an email address or an online complaint form, and you must be given a record of the complaint in a durable format
- A postal address you can write to
The Code provides you with the following protections:
- Providers are banned from transferring you to another section of the business if the call will cost more than the cost of a call to a landline number or mobile number
- Your complaint must be acknowledged within 2 working days and the acknowledgment must include a link to the code of practice and an unique reference number
- Your complaint must be responded to or resolved within 10 working days
- If it is not possible for the provider to resolve your complaint within this timeframe they must tell you the timeframe it will be resolved by. The must also give you information on how you can escalate the complaint
- Providers must have a process in place to record and track your complaint
- Providers must give you details about how you can get a refund (if appropriate)
It may be a good idea to read your service provider’s Code of Practice so that you have all the facts about the service you should be getting and the complaint handling process. Service providers must put their Codes of Practices on the home page of their website and make it easy to locate.
How do I complain to the service provider?
Start by making an informal complaint
If you are not happy with the service you are getting, you should first contact your service provider to complain (following the complaint process in the Code of Practice). It is important to act quickly as there can be very tight timeframes within which complaints can be made.
It is a good idea to keep notes of:
- What happened, including dates and times of conversations
- The name of the person you spoke to
- What was agreed
Make a formal complaint
If you are unable to resolve the problem informally or you are not happy with the response you get, you should make a formal complaint in writing (for example, letter or email).
Check your bill or the customer care section of the website for contact details and information about how complaints are dealt with.
When making your complaint, you should:
- Be clear about what the issue is, the date the problem occurred and how you want it to be put right
- Gather any information and relevant documentation, for example bills, account details, notes about previous correspondence and complaints made
- Send photocopies of your documentation – do not send originals
- Include identification information such as a complaint handling reference number (this may have been given in previous responses from the service provider)
You can get more advice about how to make a complaint.
How do I take my complaint further?
If the problem is not resolved, or is not completely resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact ComReg’s Consumer Care team for more advice.
ComReg’s complaint handling service
The Consumer Care Team can help you with queries about service or contract issues. If needed, they may be able to escalate the complaint for you to your service provider. There is no charge for making a complaint to ComReg.
ComReg can only help with your complaint after you have gone through the normal complaints handling process with your service provider.
You will have to provide ComReg with:
- Your contact details
- The account name and account number (if applicable)
- Details of the complaint, including the complaint reference number
- Details about previous dealings with the service provider
- A clear statement of how you want the problem to be put right
You should let ComReg know if there are any particular details that you do not want them to send to the service provider.
You can make a complaint to ComReg within the following time limits:
- Telecommunications issues: 9 months from the date of your problem happening
- Premium rate services: 3 months from the date of your problem happening
What happens once I lodge my complaint?
- Tell you of the service provider’s obligations and your rights
- Investigate the issue
- Escalate mobile phone, home phone, broadband, and premium rate service issues, if necessary by speaking to the service provider for you
If ComReg refers your complaint to your service provider, it is up to them to contact you directly to resolve the complaint.
ComReg will monitor your complaint and will follow up with the service provider if they don’t contact you.
When the complaint has been resolved, the service provider will send both you and ComReg a final response. ComReg will examine the final response to make sure all your issues have been addressed.
ComReg’s Formal Dispute Resolution process
If you have raised a complaint with ComReg and the service provider has not resolved it within 40 working days, then you may be able to use ComReg’s Formal Dispute Resolution Procedures.
You can apply to ComReg to adjudicate on your complaint for a fee of €15.
ComReg has more information about queries and complaints.
ComReg has more information on complaining about broadband, home phone, mobile phone, premium rate services and postal services (pdf).