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TalkTalk and Tiscali UK pay back £2.5 million to customers

Mobile News
February 28, 2011

Payments follow Ofcom investigation that revealed 62,000 customers had been billed for services they did not use

Broadband provider TalkTalk and its subsidiary Tiscali UK have paid more than 62,000 customers almost £2.5 million in refunds and good will payments following an Ofcom investigation into incorrect billings.

The investigation, which was opened in July 2010 followed complaints from over 1,000 consumers who said they had been charged by the companies for services they had not used.

Ofcom issued both organisations with legally-binding notifications in November last year and set a deadline of December 2 for them to comply with telecoms rules that prohibit consumers being charged for services they have not used.

TalkTalk and Tiscali UK where both told to remedy the breach of the regulations by the same date.

Ofcom said the resulting payment by the companies showed they have abided by what was required of them, following the investigation.

A Ofcom statement said: “TalkTalk and Tiscali UK have taken significant steps to fix the problem and to comply with the regulations by the deadline set, in direct response to Ofcom’s action.

“These steps include identifying and compensating some 62,000 affected consumers. On this basis, Ofcom is not in a position at present to impose a financial penalty on the companies under our current legal powers.”

TalkTalk and Tiscali UK said they appreciated that Ofcom had acknowledged its efforts and said it was focused on remedying any further billing issues.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said: “We’re pleased that Ofcom has recognised the significant steps we’ve taken to fix the billing issues identified.

“We moved all of our customers to our single billing platform at the end of January and our focus on resolving any outstanding billing issues continues.

“We remain committed to providing great value and service to our 4.2 million phone and broadband customers.”

Regulation change

TalkTalk and Tiscali UK could be one of the last companies in the UK to avoid an immediate financial penalty from Ofcom regarding telecoms law breaches such as the one in question.

The UK government is currently consulting on changes to the laws, that would allow the watchdog to issue a fine in such circumstances, regardless of whether a company subsequently took action to address the issue.

Should the government choose to proceed with such changes, Ofcom would be able to implement these from May 25.

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