The government’s regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications, Ofcom, has fined mobile service provider O2 £10.5m, after billing errors meant it overcharged customers who left the company.
Ofcom rules require telecoms companies to provide customers with accurate bills and charges.
In 2019 they opened an investigation into potential issues with the way O2 was billing customers who were leaving it. The Ofcom investigation found that between at least 2011 and 2019, an error in the way O2’s systems calculated the final bills for pay-monthly mobile customers meant many people were billed for some charges twice.
More than 250,000 customers were affected, costing them more than £40.7m collectively. Of those customers, around 140,000 customers paid the extra charges. O2 has refunded in full the customers affected for the extra charges they paid, plus an additional 4% and insured this error will not happen again.
The money raised from the fine will be passed on to HM Treasury.
O2 has refunded in full the customers affected for the extra charges they paid, plus an additional 4%. For those customers that O2 has not been able to reach, it has committed to make a donation to charity for the equivalent amount of money those customers were overcharged. It has also changed its billing processes to prevent this issue from happening again.
Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s Enforcement Director said: “Mobile customers trust their provider to bill them correctly and fix any errors as quickly as possible. But these billing issues continued for a number of years without sufficient action from O2, and thousands of customers were overcharged as a result. This a serious breach of our rules and this fine is a reminder that we will step in if we see companies failing to protect their customers. O2 has refunded the customers who were affected, and we are satisfied the company has taken action to prevent this happening again.”