Code of Conduct complaint and disciplinary procedure (v3.2)
This is a procedure for handling complaints that one of ISPA’s members has breached the Code of Conduct.
(Kindly note target times are indicative only and do not constitute a service level commitment. They are measured both against each individual complaint as well as against the average of all complaints received.)
- A complaint is initiated against a member of ISPA. This complaint must be submitted via email or via the ISPA web site and will be processed by a Code of Conduct compliance officer appointed by ISPA.
ISPA has the right to investigate any transgression of or non-compliance with the Code of Conduct by a member, and lodge a complaint against that member using the process outlined below.
- The complaint must contain the following information:
- If the complaint does contain all of these points, proceed to 3.
- If the complaint does not contain all of these points, a form reply is sent back to the complainant requesting that the missing information be provided.
End of procedure.
- The name of the service provider against whom the complaint is being made
- The full names, address and contact details of the complainant
- Identification of the part of the Code of Conduct which has allegedly been breached
- A detailed description of the actions (or inactions) which resulted in the alleged breach
- An indication of whether the complainant has made an effort to resolve the complaint directly with the service provider.
An acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint is sent to the complainant.
A few basic sanity checks are done, to ensure that the complaint is valid:
- If the complaint passes the sanity tests, then proceed to 5.
- If either any of these sanity checks fail, a letter is sent to the complainant explaining the reason the complaint cannot be addressed, or noting that it has already been dealt with.
- Is the service provider a member of ISPA?
- Has an adjudicator or an appeals panel already dealt with an earlier complaint on the same issue?
- Is the complaint about an Internet service?
- A copy of the complaint is forwarded to the service provider.
Target turn-around time for steps 1-5 is 3 working days.
The service provider against whom the complaint has been initiated is given five working days to remedy the complaint. If no response has been provided after five days, an attempt must be made to contact the service provider by telephone to inform them that the complaint remains unresolved. On request, and at the discretion of the Code of Conduct compliance officer, an additional five days may be granted for a response. If, after this time, the complaint has not been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, the complaint is forwarded to an adjudicator with a request for a review. Once a complaint has been forwarded to an adjudicator, both the complainant and the service provider must be notified.
The adjudicator must consider the merits of the complaint, taking into account:
- The complaint
- Any response the service provider wishes to make to the complaint
- The Code of Conduct
- The associated practical recommendations
- Any previous complaints made by the complainant
- Any previous complaints made against the service provider
If there is evidence that the complainant has lodged a complaint or dispute, or instituted an action with any other regulatory body or in a Court, and where the subject matter of that complaint, dispute or action is substantially the same as the subject matter of the complaint lodged by that complainant with ISPA, the adjudicator may at his discretion hear the complaint, dismiss the complaint, or suspend the complaint until such time as determined by the adjudicator.
The adjudicator may request that either the complainant or the service provider or both provide additional information relevant to the complaint. The adjudicator must specify a time frame for the provision of this information. If either party fails to provide the required information within this time frame, the adjudicator must proceed to evaluate the complaint without the benefit of the additional information.
After considering the merits of the complaint, the adjudicator can make any one or more of the following resolutions:
- The complaint is not valid
- The complaint should be referred back to the service provider with a further opportunity for remedial action (return to step 6.)
- The service provider must undertake appropriate remedial action (including the provision of a refund), as specified
- The service provider should be issued with a reprimand or warning
- The service provider should be fined
- The service provide must take-down content (when the complaint stems from a valid take-down notification)
- The service provider should be suspended from ISPA subject to conditions determined by the adjudicator
- The service provider’s membership of ISPA should be revoked
- ISPA should publish a report containing the identity of the service provider, the details of the breach of the Code of Conduct, and any action taken regarding the breach
- ISPA should report unlawful conduct or content to the relevant law enforcement authority
If the adjudicator requested that the service provider supply additional information (in step 9), and the service provider failed to do so, then the adjudicator may take the service provider’s failure to assist into account when making his decision.
Copies of the adjudicator’s resolutions and the reasons for those resolutions are forwarded to the service provider, the complainant and ISPA’s Management Committee.
Target turn-around time for steps 7-9 is 3 calendar weeks
If either the complainant or the service provider believes that the adjudicator has made an incorrect decision, an appeal can be lodged with ISPA’s Management Committee within ten working days of the distribution of the adjudicator’s resolution to the parties. If no appeal is lodged within ten working days, then the matter will be considered closed.
ISPA’s Management Committee can either reject the appeal, or refer the case to an appeals panel. A copy of the Management Committee’s decision and the reason for the decision is sent to both the service provider and the complainant.
If the complaint is referred to an appeals panel, return to step 7, but with the appeals panel fulfilling the role of the adjudicator for steps 7-11. A complaint can only be appealed once to the Management Committee.
If the Management Committee rejects an appeal, that is the end of this procedure.
ISPA must retain records of all complaints and disciplinary proceedings for a minimum period of three years.
Target turn-around time for the complete process (excluding an appeal, if any) is 5 calendar weeks.