Code of Practice

Basic Code of Practice for Small Business Customers

Introduction to our company and services

Commswise is an independent company that delivers communications services to business customers. While we may not provide all the component parts of our services ourselves, we do take responsibility for the services delivered to you. So we will liaise with our suppliers to ensure that any problems with their services are resolved promptly.

Purpose of this Code of Practice

This code informs you about our products, services, customer-care policies and where to find information about our charges and terms and conditions. This Code of Practice is published on our website at www.commswise.co.uk. Additional copies are available on request and free of charge to any small business customer.

How to contact us

Please contact our Customer Support Team:

  • By phone: from: 9am until 5.30pm Monday-Friday
  • By email: support@commswise.co.uk
  • By fax: 0800 2790445
  • By letter: Commswise, Old Smithy, School Road Kidlington, OX52HB
  • Website: www.commswise.co.uk

Our commitment to you

We are committed to giving you the highest quality of customer service. When we purchase our services from wholesale providers, we choose those providers carefully to ensure that you get a high-quality service. We make every reasonable effort to supply services that satisfy your requirements. We work to all relevant laws and regulations.

Our products and services

  • Landline telephones and landline calls
  • WLR – Wholesale Line Rental and CPS – Carrier Pre-Selection
  • ISDN – digital telephone lines
  • Internet access via DSL (aka broadband) and leased line
  • Hosted VoIP & SIP Trunk services, including hosted contact centre
  • Non-geographic numbers (0800, 0844, 0845 etc)
  • Wide area data networks (eg MPLS)
  • Mobile telephone and data services

For more details on any of our products and services, or to place an order immediately, please contact our Customer Service Team on 0800 2790445

Marketing

We work to the principles in the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing, which are set out on the website www.cap.org.uk.

Terms and conditions

When you ask to subscribe to a service from Commswise we will send you our Standard Terms and Conditions and ask you to sign a contract, if applicable. If you have any questions, please phone our Customer Service Team on 0800 2790445. We may carry out a credit check as part of our assessment procedures. The standard contract term for our services is 24 months.

We aim to provide services within the lead time we quote, subject to the availability and installation of any equipment and, where appropriate, lines to your premises. If we need to carry out a survey of your premises or lay additional cabling, we will inform you of the revised timescales as soon as we can.

Cancellation

If you decide to cancel your order or agreement before we have provided the services, you may do so without charge within ten working days after your order is placed or up to noon the day before the service is installed, whichever is the sooner. After ten working days we will charge you an administration fee as set out in your contract.

If you wish to terminate your contract within the contracted minimum term, please inform us in writing or via email. After the minimum term you can cancel any service by writing to us, but you must give us the notice defined in the contract. Where applicable we will charge you admin or early termination fees as set out in your contract.

Faults and repairs

Please contact our Support Team on 0800 2790445 or via email if you experience a fault with any of our services. We will aim to acknowledge the fault within 4 hours, and repair within the timescales appropriate based on the service you are renting.

Compensation and refund policy

Our policy is to assess each claim on a case by case basis. We aim to investigate any claims and respond within 30 working days. Any refunds that are due will be credited to the next month’s invoice.

Billing

We will bill you monthly (unless otherwise agreed). You can choose to pay us via a range of options including credit card, cheque and direct debit. These are agreed at the start of your contract. If you wish to change your method of payment at any time, please contact our Customer Support Team. We provide itemised bills as part of our service to you.

If you have difficulty paying your bill, please contact us on 0800 2790445 as soon as possible and we will try to arrange a different method of payment. We do all we can to help our small business customers to manage their bills and avoid disconnection.

If you are moving premises

Please contact our Customer Service Team no later than 30 days before your move date. We will amend your account and billing requirements as necessary. Where relevant we will endeavour to offer you the same telephone number to minimise disruption but please note that for geographic numbers this is not always possible.

Number porting and number transfers

We recognise that keeping your existing telephone numbers may be important to you. If you move your business to us and wish to keep the number that you have with your old provider, we will arrange it if you ask us. We will work with you to ensure that the services are switched over at a convenient and appropriate time. For more information, please contact our Customer Service Team.

Directory Entries

You are entitled to a Directory Enquiry listing (including an entry in the Phone Book) for both your fixed (but not including VoIP) and mobile telephone numbers. If you do want your details included, please contact our Customer Service Team. There may be a charge.

Complaints

We make every effort to ensure that our customers are happy with the level of service, and the products and service they receive from us. However, despite our best efforts, things can go wrong. We take customer complaints very seriously and aim to resolve them quickly and efficiently.

Our Code of Practice on Complaint Handling and Dispute Resolution explains how customers can complain. The code also provides information on how we deal with complaints and your right to take unresolved complaints to Alternative Dispute Resolution. You can find a copy of our Complaints Code on our website. Alternatively, copies are available free of charge and on request from our Customer Service Team on 0800 2790445.

Nuisance calls

We take the problem of nuisance calls and malicious communications very seriously. We tackle it by working closely with the police and others in the communications industry. If you have been a victim of this activity, please call the Customer Service Team on 0800 2790445 to report the incident and for information on how to deal with it.

Services for people with special needs

We are committed to helping all our customers to communicate easily. We offer the following additional services on request for customers who are older or who may have a disability, including:

  • Access to the Customer Service Team,
  • Fault repair and assistance, and
  • Additional help and support if you have difficulty paying your bill

Copies of this Code are available in larger print and other formats on request.

Data protection

We comply fully with our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Ofcom Regulations

Commswise and all other UK communications providers are regulated under Ofcom’s General Conditions of Entitlement. These regulations apply to anyone who provides an electronic communication service or an electronic communications network.

More specifically, General Condition 24 regulates how communications providers are able to market and sell fixed-line telephony services to customers.

General Condition 23 regulates how communications providers are able to market and sell mobile telephony services to customers.

Channel Telecom’s Regulatory Compliance Policy

Channel Telecom’s aim is to be compliant with all regulatory requirements for its industry. We consistently work towards fulfilling these requirements by training and monitoring our people, auditing and updating our policies and processes so they reflect new and existing regulations.

 

Code of Practice for Premium Rate Services (PRS) and Number Translation Services (NTS) Calls

Purpose of this Code of Practice

This code informs you about our policies on providing information about Premium Rate Service calls and on our charging policy for calls to NTS and PRS numbers.

Premium rate services

Premium rate services (PRS) are telephone numbers that offer some form of information or entertainment that is charged to your phone bill. UK-based PRS numbers are normally prefixed by “09”. 0871 is now also designated as a Premium rate number and subject to PRS regulation. Typical services include TV votelines, mobile ringtone downloads, technical helplines, charity fund-raising and adult entertainment.

Charges for these services are added to your telephone bill. Calling a PRS number generally costs between 9 pence and £2.50 per minute, per call or per text (excl. vat). Calling these services from, for example, mobile phones, cable networks or public payphones will generally cost more than the advertised rate.

If you have a problem with PRS, we can help. We can provide advice on checking the telephone number of any PRS charges that appear on your bill and will try to help you identify the premium rate service provider. By default we set up call barring to restrict access to all “09” numbers. Please call our Customer Service Team on 0800 2790445 for advice on removing call barring.

You can also ask for help from PhonepayPlus (formerly ICSTIS), which is the industry-funded regulatory body for Premium Rate Services. PhonepayPlus operates a code of practice that sets out standards for the operation of PRS. You can use the PhonepayPlus website at www.phonepayplus.org.uk to check PRS numbers direct or to download a complaint form. PhonepayPlus has legal powers to require a provider of PRS to amend its service or promotional material (or both) and can also impose penalties on content service providers. For other ways to contact PhonepayPlus, see the “Useful addresses” section below.

Number translation services

Number translation services (NTS) are based on numbers that are normally pre-fixed “08”. For example, 0800 and 0808 are used to provide freephone services (some freephone services are also provided on 0500 numbers). 0844 and 0845 numbers are used for dial-up pay-as-you-go Internet access and customer service helplines. 0870 numbers are used for information services, technical helplines and telephone banking. They are also used by organisations to help them provide call-management features such as intelligent call routing and fax-to-email services.

Charges for calling services on NTS numbers are added to your telephone bill and standard prices range from free up to 13p per minute or per call (excl. vat). Calling these services from, for example, mobile phones, cable networks or public payphones will generally cost more than the advertised rate but communications providers must publish prices for calls to 0870 numbers where these are higher than for calls to geographic numbers. Our charges for calling these services are shown in our price list, which is available on request from our Customer Services Team. We can also give you a factsheet on NTS.

If you are unhappy with the help you have received from us on a problem with PRS or NTS, please contact the Support team using support@commswise.co.uk which has responsibility for compliance with our code of practice for PRS and NTS. You may also complain using the complaints procedure set out in our complaints code including, ultimately, referring your complaint to Otelo or CISAS.

Internet diallers

If you use the Internet, it is possible for software to be placed on your computer without you knowing – using the same methods as for computer viruses. This type of software (known as Internet or rogue diallers) can then make calls to PRS and NTS numbers without your knowledge. Software is available to detect this activity and we can help you to access this – please contact our Customer Services Team for details. PhonepayPlus has been given responsibility for policing this type of activity and you can contact them via www.phonepayplus.org.uk to ask for help or to report examples of this type of abuse. For other ways to contact PhonepayPlus, see the “Useful addresses” section below. We can also help by barring calls to 09 numbers.

The Telephone Preference Service

If you don’t want to get sales and marketing calls you have not requested, you can add your details to a list run by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). If your number is on the list, it is illegal for a company to call you for marketing purposes. You can contact the Telephone Preference Service via www.tpsonline.org.uk or by telephoning 0845 070 0707.

 

Code of Practice on Complaint Handling and Dispute Resolution

Commswise is an independent company which delivers communications services to business customers. While we may not provide all the component parts of our services ourselves, we do take responsibility for the services delivered to you. So we will liaise with our suppliers to ensure that any problems with their services are resolved promptly.

We make every effort to ensure that our customers are happy with the level of service, and the products and service they receive from us. However, despite our best efforts, things can go wrong. We take customer complaints very seriously and aim to resolve them quickly and efficiently.

If you have a complaint about any part of our service, please contact our Customer Support Team using one of the following:

If you telephone, our advisors will ask you about your complaint and seek to resolve the problem while you are on the line. During any discussions we will protect the privacy of the information that we hold on you. To do this we may have to ask questions to confirm that we are speaking to the right person.

If you make your complaint by email or in writing, we will acknowledge receipt, advise how and when we will next respond and provide you with a contact point for checking progress on the resolution of your complaint.

We will try to resolve your complaint quickly and efficiently, and to keep you informed at all times. We normally aim to resolve complaints within 10 working days but, depending on the nature of the complaint, this is not always possible. However, if you are not happy with progress in resolving your complaint you can ask the person to whom you are speaking to escalate the matter to their manager, and ultimately to the Managing Director. If we cannot resolve the problem, we will write to you to say so.

If it has been more than 8 weeks from the date you first contacted us to complain or you have received a letter from us saying that your complaint has reached “deadlock”, then you may ask for help from:

Ombudsman Services – Communications
PO Box 730, Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 6WU T: 0330 440 1614
E: enquiries@os-communications.org W: www.ombudsman-services.org

Ombudsman Services/CISAS is an independent organisation which is approved by Ofcom to provide an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service. Ofcom-approved ADR services sort out disputes between communications providers and their consumer and small business customers. Their job is to investigate complaints fairly by listening to both sides of the story. They look at the facts given to them before recommending any action that may be needed to put things right.

Alternatively, if at any time you are not satisfied with the progress of your complaint you can ask us to agree an early referral to ADR (i.e. that we issue a deadlock letter). However, we may decline to do so if we do believe we will shortly resolve your complaint and are taking active steps to do so.