Mobile phone provider EE has been fined £2.7m by Ofcom for overcharging tens of thousands of customers, but would you have realised if you’d been billed too much?
Maybe it’s my generation or I’m just incredibly lax, but I rarely check my direct debit payments, let alone my bills/statements.
But the news this week that Ofcom has handed EE a £2.7m fine for overcharging tens of thousands of customers in 2014 and 2015 has got me thinking about my own laissez-faire attitude/negligence when it comes to checking my bills.
The fine came as a result of an investigation by the regulator that found that EE had broken a ‘fundamental billing rule’ on two separate occasions.
The first instance affected customers who called EE’s 150 customer service number while roaming within the EU. Instead of being charged 19p per minute, they were incorrectly charged £1.20 per minute, as if they were making a call to the US.
The mistake saw something like 32,145 customers overcharged a sum of around £245,000.
Ofcom also found that EE had continue to bill 7,674 customers for calling and using the 150 service within Europe, despite it having been made free from 18 November 2015.
On the latter occasion, the company acted promptly and issued full refunds to those affected.
But on the former, Ofcom found that EE had failed to reimburse the majority of affected customers.
EE had also wrongly decided it couldn’t identify the people it overcharged and had proposed giving their money to charity.
Although Ofcom found that EE hadn’t intentionally set out to overcharge customers, it is now requiring that it makes further attempts to trace and refund every customer who was overcharged.
Since the mistake, EE has also put in place measures to prevent this from happening again.
EE isn’t the first mobile phone company to be fined for a billing mistake. Back in October last year, Ofcom handed Vodafone a £4.6m fine for its handling of billing issues.
But it seems that if it wasn’t for the regulator’s intervention, thousands of customers would have been out of pocket.
And, if they’re like me and don’t check their bills, many of these would have been completely oblivious.
Do you frequently check your direct debit payments and bills to ensure that they are completely correct or do you trust your providers to get it right?
Do you always check bills to make sure they're correct?
Without fail (65%, 375 Votes)
When I remember (20%, 114 Votes)
Rarely (16%, 92 Votes)
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