Menu

Collaborating for customer rights in TIM

04/17/2019 - 11:15 AM

- + Text size
Print

The conciliation procedure between TIM and the consumer protection associations who signed the framework agreement for the out-of-court settlement of telephone disputes, was the first example of joint conciliation in Italy (operational in 1993 throughout the national territory). In 2011, the European Parliament recognised “Italian joint conciliation” as an example of best practice based on the protocol signed by the Company and Consumer Associations, where the Company undertakes to use an alternative procedure to resolve disputes that may arise between company and consumer, known as “Alternative Disputes Resolution” (ADR). In December 2018 there were 22 consumer associations that had signed up to the conciliation agreement, 19 of which registered with the CNCU (National Council of Consumers and Users), an organisation representing consumer associations - chaired by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development - with the task of contributing to improving and strengthening the consumer/user in the market.

In 2016, on entry into force of Legislative Decree No.130/2015, implementing European Directive No. 2013/11/EU, the Italian legislator made an important choice by counting “joint conciliations” in ADR procedures, completely reforming the original Art. 141 of the Consumer Code. By virtue of this new European and national regulatory framework, the TIMConsumer Association Joint Conciliation Procedure was:

  • recognised as an “ADR Body” possessing the requisites of stability, efficiency and impartiality required by the regulatory framework;
  • registered on the list of recognised ADR Bodies, established by the AGCom (Italian Communications Authority) on 30 June 2017.

The basis for the dissemination and success of the conciliation procedure is:

  • it is a free model;
  • the mandatory requirement to seek recourse to conciliation as a prerequisite for judicial requests to proceed.

Undoubtedly, conciliation is successful also thanks to the good relationships built up and maintained over the years with consumer associations which, as stakeholders of the Company, have always provided a wealth of information to the company through their contributions.

Following the establishment of the ADR Body, there was a revision of the Joint Conciliation Regulation and the application methods of the unitary conciliation protocol established between TIM and the Consumer Associations registered at the CNCU.

Since 2009, in compliance with the voluntary undertakings given and approved by the AGCom in 2008, TIM has also been managing conciliation requests at Co.Re.Com (Regional Communication Committees) and Chamber of Commerce offices (until June 2018), replicating the organisational model successfully applied for joint conciliations. In this way, customers can choose to use the consumer associations or follow alternative paths through Co.Re.Com to settle any disputes with the Company out of court.

The decision to abolish the Chambers of Commerce conciliatory channel - also taken in light of the AGCom Resolution 203/18/CONS “Approval of the regulation on the procedures for resolving disputes between users and electronic communications operators” which, from July 2018, introduced the new “ConciliaWeb” conciliation management system developed by the Authority - is essentially linked to three reasons:

  • the CCIAA channel has become secondary (fewer than 1,000 cases per year throughout the country) to other conciliation channels (Co.Re.Com and ADR TIM-Consumer Association), also recording the lowest conciliation rates out of the three channels;
  • the CCIAA channel is the only one that operates on a fee basis requiring, for the conciliation process, a contribution (not insignificant) to the chamber of commerce, instantly and at the expense of the operator;
  • there are currently just over twenty CCIAAs in operation and for a number of years TIM has been the only operator on the market who agrees to take part in Chambers of Commerce conciliations.

Beyond the choice of procedure by the customer, the underlying aspect of the conciliation is always the customer’s needs, making it possible to build up a good relationship between the customer and the Company.

To date, the conciliation model has achieved high qualitative and quantitative results; specifically, in 2018 the use of the Co.Re.Com channel continued to see significant figures, accounting for 68.5% of the conciliations discussed, while the Joint channel accounted for 30.6% of the requests discussed, with the Chamber of Commerce channel making up the remaining 0.9%.

The positive trend seen in the conciliation system in previous years continued in 2018 (albeit with a significant increase in the number of cases handled); in fact:

  • 97% of the requests for joint conciliation (16,438 out of 16,928) were reconciled, a percentage that is stable year on year despite the 25.5% increase in the cases discussed in 2018 with respect to the previous year (14,302 in 2017);
  • 84.9% of the requests discussed at the Co.Re.Com and Chambers of Commerce were reconciled (35,293 reconciled out of 41,554 discussed). This percentage remained high in 2018, and was even higher than the previous year, also considering the 14.4% increase in the cases discussed compared to 2017 (36,313 in 2017).

TIM supported the conciliation activity through:

  • the seminars and joint training initiatives involving dedicated personnel from TIM, AGCom, Co.Re.Com. and Consumer Associations;
  • the debates, conferences, interviews and other promotional activities involving senior management in order to disseminate the correct cultural approach to the subject.

Conciliation is becoming increasingly widespread among customers, particularly in view of the:

  • better knowledge of the procedure, which is considered to be a quick and economical way of resolving disputes;
  • economic crisis, which leads people to resort to conciliation even for small amounts (e.g. potential inefficiencies involved in transferring from one operator to another);
  • large number of Co.Re.Com, which are opening provincial offices in many regions to make the conciliation system more easily available to people (avoiding the costs involved in travelling to regional capitals).