Ofcom has introduced new measures to help ensure consumers receive "better outcomes" when making complaints about their broadband provider.
The media sector has published a set of common principles to be followed by the Ombudsman Services: Communications (OS) and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Service (CISAS) when handing complaints.
These decision making principles will help safeguard against any potential inconsistencies in the way the schemes deal with customers.
They must also adopt common compensation guidelines, designed to help both schemes reach consistent and fair decisions when awarding compensation.
The new measures are being introduced following a review of alternative dispute resolution by Ofcom, which looked at whether schemes still meet the approval criteria, which cover a range of factors such as accessibility, fairness and effectiveness, among others.
Ofcom found that both schemes continue to resolve disputes effectively and meet most of the criteria to warrant 'approved' status.
However, the review found they delivered "inconsistent outcomes" for a small minority of consumers.
The OS and CISAS must be able to demonstrate that they have treated consumers fairly, remain objective, and consider the evidence presented by the parties and specific circumstances.
In addition, they should give equal consideration to the word of the consumer and that of the communications provider.
The bodies must also be mindful of, but not bound by, past rulings in similar cases, and take account of, but not rely on, the usual behaviour or practices of either the provider or consumer.
Ofcom reiterated the fact that decision makers must have regard for the relevant regulations, law and terms and conditions, and ensure the outcome will be based on the balance of probabilities in the absence of conclusive evidence.
Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer Group, said "effective redress" for consumers is essential and by providing a free, independent service to consider disputes, ADR schemes play a key part in this.
"OS and CISAS have agreed to the new decision making principles, and Ofcom has therefore continued its approval of both of these ADR providers," he stated.