EE receives a £2.7m slap on the wrist by Ofcom for overcharging customers

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/BraunS)

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has fined EE after finding the operator conducted "fundamental billing mistakes" which overcharged almost 40,000 customers. 

On two occasions the operator was found to break its billing rules. The first mistake was charging users roaming in Europe the same rate they would calling the US for dialing EE's customer services number. Instead of 19p per minute, the affected customers were charged £1.20 per minute. 

The result of this mistake was the overcharging of 32,145 customers for the sum of around £245,700 in total. The second issue arises from EE making it free to call its customer services number from within the EU from the 18th November 2015, but continuing to bill customers until 11th January for overcharges worth a total of £2,203. 

EE decided against reimbursing customers for the first billing mistake until Ofcom intervened, but took prompt action for the second. It's proven to be a costly error for EE with Ofcom issuing a £2,700,000 fine on top of issuing customer refunds. 

Ofcom says while most of the customers have since been refunded, EE was unable to identify at least 6,905 individuals who are owed £60,000 between them. Due to a failure in finding these customers, EE has made a donation of just under £62,000 to charity. Ofcom is demanding the operator makes further attempts to find and issue refunds to everyone 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.” 

The fine must be paid within 20 days and will be passed on to HM Treasury. A reduction of 10 percent was included after EE agreed to formally settle the matter. 

What are your thoughts about EE's billing mistakesLet us know in the comments. 

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