The Commission may require the publication of information on quality of service. The Commission may require providers of internet access services and of publicly available interpersonal communications services to publish within a specified period comprehensive, comparable, reliable, user-friendly and up-to-date information for end-users on the quality of their technical services, the quality of their non-technical services, and measures taken to ensure equivalence in access for end-users with disabilities.
The Commission may specify minimum quality- of-service standards to be met by providers of internet access services or publicly available interpersonal communications services in respect of, amongst other things, customer service, complaint handling, outages and repairs, switching services, and billing and refunds.
The Commission may require providers of internet access services or publicly available interpersonal communications services to prepare, publish and keep updated a document to be entitled a “customer charter”, and the Commission may specify the form of a customer charter and the information required to be included in a charter, including minimum quality-of-service standards.
The Commission may specify a failure of a provider to comply with an obligation under a minimum quality-of-service standard, and states that where a provider commits a specified failure, they shall pay compensation to any end-user affected.
Resolution of Complaints and Disputes
A provider shall ensure that it has in place procedures for dealing with complaints and for settling disputes with end- users that are accessible, fair, prompt, transparent, inexpensive, and non- discriminatory.
A provider of electronic communications networks or services shall prepare, publish, keep updated and implement a code of practice for dealing with complaints and for settling disputes with end-users relating to the contractual conditions or performance of contracts (whether entered into or not).
Provider to report on end-user complaints
A provider shall report to the Commission on complaints made to it by end-users within the preceding 6-month period, and such other matters relating to complaints by end-users made during that period as may be specified by the Commission.
Commission may require information regarding end-user complaints. The Commission may require providers to collate and publish, or provide to it, in such form as the Commission may specify, comparable data in relation to complaints made to it by end users and in relation to the procedures that providers have in place for dealing with complaints and for settling disputes with end-users.
Where a provider receives a complaint from an end-user in respect of its services, the provider shall inform the end-user of his or her right to refer a relevant dispute to the Commission for resolution. Where the Commission considers that a provider has failed to implement its code of practice, the Commission may issue a direction on the provider specifying the provisions of the code which have not been implemented and requiring the provider to implement them.
Resolution of relevant disputes
An end user may refer a dispute with a provider to the Commission and, where the Commission is satisfied that the dispute is a relevant dispute, the Commission, or such independent person as may be appointed by the Commission, shall carry out a dispute resolution process and propose a resolution to the dispute referred.
The Commission may specify procedures for the resolution of disputes and such procedures shall be transparent, non-discriminatory, simple, and inexpensive; enable disputes to be settled fairly and promptly; and be made publicly available by the Commission, together with any amendments to such procedures.
Where the Commission is satisfied that a provider has failed to comply with a proposed resolution that is binding upon it, the Commission may serve a direction on the provider requiring the provider to take such measures as are specified in the direction. The direction may require, among other things, all or any of the following: the reimbursement of payments by a provider to an end-user; payment of compensation by a provider to an end-user; or payment by a provider in settlement of losses suffered by an end-user.
Where a person refers a relevant dispute to the Commission under section 31 that involves parties in different Member States, the Commission shall co-ordinate its efforts with any relevant regulatory authority in the other Member State with a view to bringing about a resolution of the dispute.
The Commission may pay such remuneration and expenses to an independent person appointed by the Commission as it considers appropriate, and the amount of such payments shall be included in the expenses of the Commission for the purpose of section 30 of the Principal Act.
An alternative dispute resolution entity
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission shall add the Commission to the list of ADR entities established and maintained by it under Regulation 8 of the European Union (Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2015.
This is without prejudice to an end-user’s right to pursue a dispute to which this section applies by other legal means or proceedings.
Urgent interim measures
There are rules around “urgent interim measures”, which the Commission is able to impose if it has evidence of a breach of a regulatory provision or a breach of conditions, or of a substantial risk that either such breach will take place, that represents an immediate and serious threat to public safety, public security or public health, or risks creating serious economic or operational problems for other providers or users of electronic communications networks or services or other users of the radio spectrum.
The High Court may, by order, require that, on the expiry of any specified urgent interim measure imposed by the Commission under the previous section, the breach or conduct cease immediately or within a reasonable time period, and that specified measures be taken to remedy the breach or the effects of the conduct concerned.
The Minister may prescribe regulatory provisions for the purposes of this Act.
This Part applies in respect of a licence notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Act of 1926, any Regulations made under section 6 of the Act of 1926, and in the licence itself.
Suspected regulatory breach, etc.
Where the Commission suspects on reasonable grounds that a person has committed or is committing a regulatory breach, it may enter into an agreement in writing with the person to resolve the matter, and that where that person fails to comply with any of the terms of the agreement, the Commission may apply to the High Court for an order requiring that person to comply with those terms.
An authorised officer, who suspects that a person has committed or is committing a regulatory breach, which either does or does not constitute a criminal offence, may serve on the person a notice in writing of the details of the suspected breach.
Where an authorised officer who has already issued a notice of suspected non-compliance identifies new evidence which impacts said notice, or any error or inaccuracy in the notice, they shall serve a supplementary notice of suspected non-compliance on each person on which the initial notice was served.
The Commission may revoke a notice of suspected non-compliance or a supplementary notice of suspected non- compliance. The Commission may publish a notice of suspected non-compliance or a supplementary notice of suspected non- compliance on the website of the Commission, with due regard for commercially sensitive information, save where such publication would, in the opinion of the Commission, prejudice the achievement of the objectives of this Act.
The Act sets out which failures by providers constitute a regulatory breach under this Part, and which failures constitute an offence.