Investigation calls for new agency to handle complaints

6 May 2004

An investigation launched by the Dutch economic affairs minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst has concluded that the country’s telecoms industry is crying out for a new, single authority to handle complaints from users. The report reveals that the vast majority of complaints centre on problems with unclear rates, spam SMS, bad customer service, incompetent customer billing, and the growing issue of so-called ‘slamming’ where firms illegally change a customers telephone service without permission. Although the Netherlands is served by several well-known regulatory bodies – including the telecoms watchdog OPTA and the consumer association Consumentenbond – Dutch consumers often struggle to select the appropriate one, or worse, are unaware of the existence of agencies such as the consumer dispute commission (SGC), the association overseeing telephone-based information services (Stic) and the association of Dutch ISPs (NLIP). The Ministry will present its recommendations to the lower house later this year.