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12 Feb 2021 | 08:20

Ofcom fines O2 £10.5m for overcharging pay monthly customers

(Sharecast News) - Ofcom has fined O2 £10.5m, after customers leaving the mobile provider were overcharged due to billing errors by the company. The regulator had opened an investigation into potential issues with the way the Telefonica subsidiary was billing customers who were leaving the provider in 2019.

It said 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 a number were billed for some charges twice.

In total, more than 250,000 customers were billed incorrectly, amounting to £40.7m, with around 140,000 customers actually paying the extra charges, to a total of £2.4m.

Ofcom said O2 had initially identified issues with its billing processes in 2011, but efforts to address them were not successful and customers continued to be overcharged.

It said it found that O2 breached its rules, and issued a fine of £10.5m, with O2 accepting the findings of the investigation.

O2 refunded the customers affected in full for the extra charges they paid, plus an additional 4%.

For the customers that O2 was not able to reach, Ofcom said the company had committed to make a donation to charity for the equivalent amount of money those customers were overcharged.

It had also changed its billing processes to prevent the issue arising again, the regulator said.

"Mobile customers trust their provider to bill them correctly and fix any errors as quickly as possible," said Ofcom enforcement director Gaucho Rasmussen.

"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 is 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."
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