Eir declines invitation to discuss customer complaints in front of Oireachtas committee


The company has written to TDs and senators saying it is involved in an ongoing regulatory process with ComReg, which it does not want to be prejudiced.

Last month Eir pleaded guilty to 12 counts of not complying with legal requirements relating to its complaints-handling process. The firm admitted that it did not deal correctly with customer complaints, and paid a €7,500 fine.

A district court judge described Eir as a “disgrace”, after hearing evidence that the teleco had warned staff they could be disciplined if they handled customer complaints in accordance with the law.

An Eir training manual for its agents said that under no circumstances were complaint telephone numbers or webpage addresses to be given to customers, and any staff member doing this would be subject to a disciplinary action.

Eir has since said that the instruction was taken out of context, and described ComReg’s characterisation of the manual as “incorrect”.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications invited both ComReg and Eir to a hearing tomorrow to discuss the issue, but only the regulator accepted.

Gerry Horkan, the vice chair of the committee and a Fianna Fáil senator, said: “Eir has told us it is not in a position to come in now. Once it is in a position to do so, and once any legal hurdles have been crossed, we would hope to bring it in sooner rather than later.”

A spokesperson for Eir said: “Eir is currently engaged in an ongoing regulatory process initiated by ComReg, and it would therefore not be appropriate to attend a hearing at present.

“As an alternative, we have invited the committee to visit our care centres to meet with senior staff and colleagues, where we can update them on our ­approach to customer care.”

In a briefing note on the enforcement proceedings sent to the committee, Eir said it wrote to ComReg after the recent case “correcting allegations that were made in the district court”.

It says that given the existence of an ongoing regulatory process, “we would not want to place any party in the ­position of inadvertently intervening or potentially prejudicing” the outcome.

Eir added that it also did not want to risk “any legal proceedings that might follow”, suggesting that it may yet sue ComReg over the process.

TDs and senators were also given details of the “significant” investment it has made in customer care.

Eir said that independent data compiled by ComReg for the first quarter of 2024 found that the company had the lowest proportion of complaints for voice and broadband customers in the market.

It said that “recognising the special role” politicians play in the community in Ireland, it had set up a dedicated customer support contact point for the exclusive use of Oireachtas members.

This is open during the Dáil term and, according to Eir, “dedicated” staff have been responding to an average of 20 to 25 queries from politicians each week.


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