A new Internet complaints resolution service from the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) was given the nod in principle from telecoms regulator Oftel yesterday.
The service, which will be called the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), will launch on 9 December and help customers and ISPs work out their differences for free.
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators will preside over the complaint resolutions and was the joint baby of ISPA and T-Mobile, Telewest and Orange.
In the event an arbitrator rules in favour of a customer, they can request that the ISP either pays out cash to the tune of up to £5,000, take practical action to sort out a problem, make the service provider apologise or hand over a product or service to make it up to the aggrieved user.
While customers can already make complaints to ISPA itself, the new service will be there to resolve more complex disputes.
David Edmonds, director general of telecommunications, praised the initiative and its independent dispute resolution.