Today EE have been fined a staggering £2.7million for overcharging and wrongly billing their customers
Hundreds of thousands of EE users were charged too much, according to a report from regulatory body Ofcom. An investigation revealed that the mobile phone provider had broken an important billing rule, not once but twice.
In the first instance, customers who called EE’s ‘150’ customer services number while roaming inside the European Union were billed for dialling a number in the United States. This means they were charged £1.20 per minute rather than just 19p laid out in the terms and conditions. According to Ofcom, around 32,145 customers were overcharged £245,700 as a result.
Ofcom took issue with the fact that EE reportedly did not reimburse the majority of the affected customers, with the network provider insisting they couldn’t identify those who had been overcharged.
In the second instance, EE were found to have billed customers for calling their ‘150’ number even after announcing it was free in November 2015. Ofcom report that 7,674 customers were affected up until January 2016 – with a total of £2,203.33 being charged. However EE took prompt action and refunded those affected.
Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director Lindsey Fussell, said: “EE didn’t take enough care to ensure that its customers were billed accurately. This ended up costing customers thousands of pounds, which is completely unacceptable.”
She added: “We monitor how phone companies bill their customers, and will not tolerate careless mistakes. Any company that breaks Ofcom’s rules should expect similar consequences.”
A statement on Ofcom’s website reads: “We recognise that the majority of customers have now been refunded. However, EE was unable to identify at least 6,905 customers, who were more than £60,000 out of pocket in total.”
It continued: “EE has made a donation of just under £62,000 to charity in lieu of the payments owed to these customers. However, in addition to today’s fine, Ofcom is requiring EE to make further attempts to trace and refund every customer who was overcharged.”
EE aren’t the only network to be investigated by Ofcom for sending out incorrect bills. Back in November we reported that Plusnet are being monitored for charging customers after their service had been cancelled.
Ofcom claimed there were reasonable grounds for believing that Plusnet (as part of the BT Group) violated their general trade agreements by charging some customers for a telephone or broadband service that was not live.