Mobile firm EE has been fined £2.7m after it overcharged tens of thousands of customers who contacted its customer services number.
Calling the 150 number while in the UK is free, but calling from elsewhere in the EU is billed at 19p per minute – however EE’s systems wrongly charged £1.20 per minute. Telecoms regulator Ofcom says 32,145 customers were overcharged as a result.
According to Ofcom, “EE wrongly decided it couldn’t identify the people it overcharged and was proposing to give their money to charity, which would have left them out of pocket.”
It’s ordered the firm to make more effort to identify those affected and refund them directly.
EE again wrongly billed for the service despite making it free to call or text within the EU from 18 November 2015, with 7,674 customers charged a total of £2,203.33 for using the service.
Ofcom says in this instance “EE did take prompt action on this occasion and issued full refunds to those affected.”
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, 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.
“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.”