EE fined £2.7 million for overcharging customers
EE has been fined £2.7 million by Ofcom following an investigation in the mobile network operator's fundamental billing system.
An external company called TÜV SÜD BABT that monitors and approves EE's billing systems notified Ofcom that EE had overcharged almost 40,000 customers back in September 2015.
Subscribers to the EE network were being charged £1.20 per minute for calling the networks "150" service line while roaming in the EU - a marked increase over the networks promised 19p per minute charge.
The billing problem occured when EE directed TÜV SÜD BABT to remove the UK's international dialing code (+44) from it's systems for people calling short code numbers - this included it's own "150" customer service line.
This resulted in the system mistaking the "1" in "150" as an attempt to call the United States. This resulted in subscribers being charged the £1.20 per minute rate rather than 19p per minute.
Ofcom blames EE for this technical mess, commenting on the networks "carelessness" and "negligence" as it had failed to check whether the new system directives has bene implemented correctly.
As a result of this a combined overcharge of £245,700 occured between July 2014 - 2015 and unfortunately the network is claiming that it couldn't identify the people it had inadvertently overcharged.
The network's claims that it couldn't track down who it had overcharged were apparently untrue, though it did state that it was happy to give the money to charity. Apparently most customers have now in fact been refunded however EE have stated that it has been "unable to identify at least 6,905 customers" and that it still owes more than £60,000 to those customers collectively.
Due to it's inability to be able to refund those unkown customers the network has made a £62,000 donation to charity. Despite this Ofcom still wants EE to do some detective work and find out who it still owes money to and to make the necessary refunds.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director commented on the fine saying, "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. Any company that breaks Ofcom's rules should expect similar consequences."