Search Legislation

Communications Act 2003

Section 52: Conditions relating to customer interests

145.Sections 52 to 55 place OFCOM under a duty to ensure that the communications industry has in place effective and accessible machinery for the protection of domestic and small business customers, including procedures for dealing with complaints and disputes. They allow OFCOM to take action if the industry does not voluntarily develop an effective regime for this purpose. Taken together these sections implement Article 34 of the Universal Service Directive and form part of the implementation of condition 8 of Part A of the Annex to the Authorisation Directive.

146.Section 52 provides that OFCOM must set such general conditions (if any) as they consider appropriate for securing that public communications providers establish procedures for dealing with domestic and small business customer complaints, and for resolving domestic and small business customer disputes. OFCOM are to ensure that, so far as they consider appropriate, such procedures are simple, transparent and effective, and that they can be used free of charge. The procedures as respect complaints are to be met through securing compliance with a code of practice that has been approved by OFCOM. The requirement to establish procedures for resolving customer disputes is to be met by the public communications providers establishing dispute resolution arrangements approved by OFCOM. The voluntary Ombudsman scheme for communications disputes recently adopted by Oftel is likely to be submitted to OFCOM for approval under these provisions.

  • *public communications provider is defined in section 151 as the provider of a public electronic communications network or service or an associated facility.

  • *the meaning of domestic and small business customer is given in subsection (6) and covers customers of communications providers who are neither (a) communications providers, nor (b) undertakings for which more than 10 people work.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources