Company - - Jan 18,2017
UK’s leading mobile phone company, EE, has been fined 2.7 million pounds ($3.32 million) by the telecoms regulator Ofcom for overcharging tens of thousands of customers.
The company has been asked to pay the fine within 20 working days. The watchdog found that EE broke a billing rule, as customers who called the company’s 150 customer services number while roaming within the EU were incorrectly charged as if they had made a call in the US. It said that UK’s biggest mobile network committed this mistake two times.
This means that customers who were supposed to be charged at 19 pence per minute were actually charged at 1.20 pounds a minute. As a result, a total amount of 245,000 pounds was overcharged from more than 32,000 customers.
In the second breach, EE, despite it making it free to call or text the number 150 while roaming in the EU from 18th November 2015, continued to charge over 7,674 customers up till January 11, 2016. This overcharge amounted to 2,203 pounds.
EE is owned by telecoms giant BT, which took over the mobile operator last year in a deal ranging to 12.5 billion pounds. Ofcom’s investigation accused EE of “carelessness and negligence”. It said that EE was not intending to make money from its billing blunder but the company had decided against reimbursing the majority of affected customers until the watchdog intervened.
The fine will go to the UK treasury. EE has accepted the verdict and apologized to its customers. It has also refunded most of the affected customers, however, it is yet to identify 6,905 customers, who were overcharged a combined total of 60,000 pounds.
EE has donated around 62,000 pounds to charity in lieu of this sum, but Ofcom has ordered the company to make stronger attempts to identify and trace the customers.