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FTC to review Flow’s standards of service


Kendy

FTC to review Flow’s standards of service

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The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is seeking public input on its review of the Standards of Service 2018-2020 for Cable & Wireless (Barbados) Ltd (C&W, trading as Flow).

The Standards of Service framework sets out the minimum level of service that should be received by customers of Flow’s landline service.

In a statement today, the FTC said it has outlined a number of proposed changes to the standards in its consultation paper and members of the public are encouraged to submit their comments on the themes presented, which include:

  • the continuance of the Standards of Service framework;
  • the implementation of two new standards which would introduce benchmarks for Flow’s response time to customer complaints and requests for account cancellation;
  • the introduction of automatic compensation for all of Flow’s guaranteed standards;
  • a requirement for Flow to publish, on its website, social media channels and in two forms of news media, both the standards of service and process for reporting breaches, in a clear, prominent manner; and
  • a requirement for Flow to provide complainants with information on compensation processes.

“Flow’s status as the sole provider of landline-only service in Barbados, i.e. not bundled with other services, coupled with the dominance it has maintained in that market segment, has informed the Commission’s view that regulation of domestic fixed line services remains essential.

“While the current standards of service framework has been deemed effective, the Commission also thought it prudent to implement modifications in order to align the existing standards with current market conditions and best practices.”

The Commission therefore proposes to replace the current Standard for Response to Customer Complaints (GTS 4), which measures how quickly complaints are acknowledged, with Customer Complaint Resolution Time.

The FTC said the new standard would require Flow to resolve a customer’s complaint or dispute within seven working days after it is lodged via telephone, email or post.

Similarly, the other proposed standard, Account Cancellation Time after Customer Request, would require Flow to cancel accounts within five days after the company has received the customer’s request.

The FTC said: “Flow would also not be allowed to bill the customer beyond the aforementioned five-day period. Corresponding changes would likewise be made to the overall standards. While these latter standards measure Flow’s countrywide performance, they do not result in compensation to individual customers if breaches occur.

“The Commission has also recommended that automatic compensation be applied for all of the Flows Guaranteed Standards. Currently, three of the eight Guaranteed Standards require a customer claim if Flow fails to meet a target.  This obligates customers to submit a complaint via telephone, e-mail or traditional mail if they wish to seek compensation, as opposed to automatic compensation, where Flow applies a credit directly to the customer’s account when a breach occurs.

“The Commission is concerned that in many instances, eligible compensation is unclaimed due to the manual claim process or general lack of knowledge of the Standards of Service framework. The application of automatic compensation would therefore provide a remedy for this issue.

The FTC’s consultation paper also proposes modifications to Flow’s reporting processes for specific Standards. However, if respondents choose to answer only some of the consultation questions, this will not reduce the consideration given to their response.

For more information on how to participate in the consultation and to access the consultation paper, visit www.ftc.gov.bb.

The C&W Standards of Service first came into effect on June 1, 2006 and have undergone three subsequent reviews, which have resulted in amendments. (PR)