The conciliation procedure between TIM and the consumer protection associations who signed the framework agreement for the out-of-court settlement of telephone disputes, was the first example of joint conciliation in Italy (operational in 1993 throughout the national territory). In 2011, the European Parliament recognized “Italian joint conciliation” as an example of best practice based on the protocol signed by the Company and Consumer Associations, where the Company undertakes to use an alternative procedure to resolve disputes that may arise between company and consumer, known as “Alternative Disputes Resolution” (ADR). In December 2019, 22 consumer associations signed up to the conciliation agreement, 19 of which registered with the CNCU (National Council of Consumers and Users), an organisation representing consumer associations - chaired by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development - with the task of contributing to improving and strengthening consumer satisfaction levels.
In 2016, on entry into force of Legislative Decree No.130/2015, implementing European Directive No. 2013/11/EU, the Italian legislator made an important choice by counting “joint conciliations” in ADR procedures, completely reforming the original Art. 141 of the Consumer Code. By virtue of this new European and national regulatory framework, the TIM-Consumer Association Joint Conciliation Procedure was:
- recognized as an “ADR Body” possessing the requisites of stability, efficiency and impartiality required by the regulatory framework;
- registered on the list of recognized ADR Bodies, established by the AGCom (Italian Communications Authority) on June 30, 2017.
The basis for the dissemination and success of the conciliation procedure is:
- it is a free model;
- ·speed of the process;
- the mandatory requirement to seek recourse to conciliation as a prerequisite for judicial requests to proceed.
Undoubtedly, conciliation is successful also thanks to the good relationships built up and maintained over the years with consumer associations which, as stakeholders of the Company, have always provided a wealth of useful information on critical consumer issues to the company through their contributions.
Following the establishment of the ADR Body, there was a revision of the Joint Conciliation Regulation and the application methods of the unitary conciliation protocol established between TIM and the Consumer Associations registered at the CNCU.
A new collaboration agreement (already partly presented in December 2019) with some of the main Associations – those who are most collaborative, involved and engaged in debates on electronic communication – will be launched by 2020, with the aim of more effectively combining the interests of the company with the needs of consumers. In this respect, thanks to this agreement great emphasis will be placed on strengthening the dialog concerning the most sensitive issues for the consumer, such as the new 5G technology. In addition, and again with the aim of best consolidating the agreement between the Associations and the Operator, the introduction of a new channel for handling consumers’ complaints addressed to TIM and submitted to the Consumer Associations has been guaranteed.