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FCS Code of Practice Service

You may be aware of the requirement under the General Conditions of Entitlement for providers of communication services to have a consumer code of practice. Below is some of the background to the legislation and advice on how the FCS can help you comply.

Does my company need a Code of Practice?

Almost certainly! Companies providing communications services are required by law to comply with the Communications Act 2003. The requirement to provide Codes of Practice and dispute resolution applies to any company that sells communications services to residential customers and/or small businesses with less than ten employees or volunteers. That includes Service Providers and Resellers of electronic communications services such as fixed, mobile, broadband, internet, CBS and PAMR etc. who sell and bill any of these services to their customers.

What do I need to do to comply?

  • Provide a “Basic” or “Consumer” Code of Practice which includes information about your company, the services you provide and your terms of trade.
  • Provide a Complaints Code which conforms to Ofcom guidelines.
  • Provide a Code of Practice for Premium Rate Services and NTS calls.
  • Became a member of an Ofcom approved Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme.

What happens if we don’t comply?

Ofcom has powers to fine companies that do not comply for up to 10% of turnover -- and has done so on several occasions.

Will it take me a lot of time to develop Codes of Practice?

No, FCS has done the hard work for you. To make the process of complying with the act as easy and cost effective as possible, we have created generic templates that you can customise under a licence agreement with FCS.

Can I create my own Codes of Practice?

Yes. The requirements are clearly spelt out in the Communications Act.  As with all legal documents, though, you would be best advised to seek independent legal advice.  If you put your own code together and fail to fulfill every requirement, you will still be at risk of being fined. A good solicitor who understands the Comms Act should be able to write a compliant COP for you for £5,000.   

Does the FCS Code satisfy the authorities?

Yes, Ofcom have reviewed the FCS template and approved many CP Codes based on it. FCS also carries out an annual maintenance review to ensure that your code is up to date and remains in compliance. Many companies have now successfully achieved compliance using the FCS route.

How much will it cost to use the FCS Codes of Practice Service?

Our main aim with the code service is to help our members comply with the law at an affordable rate. For members we charge an initial licence fee of £295 which includes automatic membership of the Ombudsman Services: Communications Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme. For non-members it costs £950. There is also an annual maintenance fee of £100 and £200 respectively, after the first year.

- All prices quoted are subject to VAT -

How can we get a Code of Practice from FCS?

You can apply for a Code of Practice here.

If you require any further information or have any queries, you can call our helpline on 020 7186 5432 or simply email codes@fcs.org.uk