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Regulator imposes penalties

EE and Virgin Media fined £13.3m for overcharging

ultrafast broadbandCommunications regulator Ofcom has fined EE and Virgin Media a combined total of £13.3 million for overcharging phone and broadband customers who wished to leave their contracts early.

The penalties are the result of investigations into EE’s and Virgin Media’s early-exit charges.

Phone and broadband companies can charge customers who decide not to see out the minimum term of their contracts. But under Ofcom rules, those charges must be made clear to customers, and must not make switching to another provider too costly.

Ofcom’s investigation found that both EE and Virgin Media failed to comply with these rules, because:
• around 400,000 EE customers who ended their contracts early were over-billed, and customers ended up over-paying up to £4.3m;
• almost 82,000 Virgin Media customers were overcharged a total of just under £2.8m; and
• both companies failed to make sufficiently clear the charges customers would have to pay if they ended their contract early.

Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s Director of Investigations and Enforcement, said: “EE and Virgin Media broke our rules by overcharging people who ended their contracts early. Those people were left out of pocket, and the charges amounted to millions of pounds.

“That is unacceptable. These fines send a clear message to all phone and broadband firms that they must play by the rules, in the interests of their customers.”



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