Mediators to resolve disputes over phone bills

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 3:13am

Billing disputes between telecommunication service providers and customers will be resolved by expert mediators under a two-year pilot scheme launched yesterday.

The government invested an initial HK$150,000 in setting up the Customer Complaint Settlement Scheme (CCSS) and will spend HK$2 million a year in subsidies to support the service.

The CCSS is run by the Communications Association of Hong Kong, which represents all major telecom companies.

The expert body, manned by a panel of six industry mediators including a lawyer, aims to reduced the volume of complaints fielded by the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) and the Consumer Council.

Between January and the end of September OFCA received 3,791 complaints against service providers. This compared with a total of 4,950 complaints for the whole of last year, including 1,171 cases involving billing.

The Consumer Council received 4,895 complaints against telecommunication providers from January to the end of September, about half of which concerned billing.

Customers will be charged HK$100 for the new service. To be eligible, their disputes must involve HK$300 or more and be referred by OFCA.

The CCSS will initially handle about 500 cases a year. OFCA will monitor the pilot scheme to assess its effectiveness.