ANACOM signed protocols, at 24 July, with seven consumer conflict arbitration centres, in a process which is intended to bring benefits to consumers, as it will make the dispute settlement procedure between consumers and communications operators simpler and quicker.
This is a very important aspect in the communications sector, which is characterised by a high degree of conflict and a high number of complaints from consumers, despite the actions that ANACOM has taken to enhance consumer protection.
ANACOM believes consumer dispute arbitration centres must be swift and have adequate means of responding to consumer requests. The protocols signed yesterday, which, in addition to ANACOM, involved ERSE and ERSAR, mean the regulators shall help the arbitration centres to have adequate resources, including staff with more specialist training in essential public services.
Although cooperation with arbitration centres has existed for several years, it will now become more systematised and will make the arbitration centres more efficient and effective. This is evidenced by the fact that the funding to be made available is conditional on results obtained. The goal is for the centres to provide good results.
ANACOM believes that through these protocols with the arbitration centres, improper practices by the communications operators will be discouraged.
Another aim of ANACOM is that, in addition to consumers, micro and small businesses could also be covered by arbitration centres, because they too have problems.
ANACOM also advocates the promotion of transparency in the activities of arbitration centres, including through the dissemination of the arbitration rulings; promoting accessibility of the services of the arbitration centres for its users; and the provision of standardised services throughout Portugal.
The following seven arbitration centres signed the protocols with ANACOM:
- Consumer Conflict Arbitration Centre (Centro de Arbitragem de Conflitos de Consumo) of Coimbra District;
- Consumer Conflict Arbitration Centre (Centro de Arbitragem de Conflitos de Consumo) of Lisbon;
- Consumer Arbitration Court (CIAB - Tribunal Arbitral de Consumo);
- Consumer Information and Arbitration Centre (Centro de Informação de Consumo e Arbitragem) of Porto;
- Consumer Conflict Information, Mediation and Arbitration Centre (Centro de Informação, Mediação e Arbitragem de Conflitos de Consumo) of Algarve;
- National Centre for Consumer Conflict Information and Arbitration (Centro Nacional de Informação e Arbitragem de Conflitos de Consumo); and
- Consumer Conflict Arbitration Centre (Centro de Arbitragem de Conflitos de Consumo) of Ave, Tâmega and Sousa.
Signing of protocols
Representatives of ANACOM and the arbitration centres
ANACOM team present at the protocol signing ceremony