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Dispute resolution service launched


Telecommunications customers now have an avenue, outside of the courts, to get their disputes settled.

The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has launched its dispute resolution service.{{more}}

As he announced the new service, Director of the NTRC Apollo Knights said that the service, which is part of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority’s regulations which were adopted in St Vincent and the Grenadines last year, is crucial to customers.

Knights said that while telecommunications and the other services providers have their own dispute resolution components, customers sometimes feel they are not fairly treated.

He explained that because of the nature of some of the disputes, going to court was a too expensive and a sometimes impractical option for the customer.

This legal option, says the NTRC, is a more feasible option for most customers.

The system allows for the NTRC to receive and process complaints if 30 days have elapsed and the service provider is unable to settle the dispute with the customer.

The dispute resolution service also includes the settlement of disputes between the providers themselves.

Knights said that St Vincent and the Grenadines has led the way in providing this service, and he expects other regulatory bodies in the region to follow suit.

He also stated that the NTRC will be launching a new website soon, which will have a special section dedicated to the dispute process.

A customer will be required to fill out a complaint form in order to file their complaint. This form should be available at the service providers or on the NTRC’s website.

Once a complaint is made, the service provider will be expected to maintain a complaint record register. A monthly report is to be filed with the NTRC.

The NTRC will only become involved in the process if no resolution to the complaint is had in 30 days.

Present at the launching were the general managers of bitter rivals Cable & Wireless and Digicel, along with a representative from Karib Cable.

They all welcomed the initiative and vowed to cooperate. The three companies indicated that they have already put the system in place.

The NTRC was established in 2001 via the Telecommunications Act of 2001. The body regulates, supervises, collects fees, processes applications, monitors, and now settle disputes involving the providers of telecommunications, cable, radio and television services.