TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom has slapped Giffgaff with a £1.4m fine for overcharging millions of customers.
The MVNO, which operates on the O2 network, suffered a glitch in its billing system that saw customers who bought a 'goodybag' bundle while using their pre-paid credit being overcharged. Ofcom said there was a delay in Giffgaff applying the bundle, which meant that any voice calls customers were making, or the data they were using at the time, came out of their pre-paid credit.
"These services should have been free immediately from the point the bundle was purchased - so the customers were effectively charged twice," Ofcom said, adding that the borkage led to around 2.6 million customers being overcharged up to a total of almost £2.9m.
The community-ran network has already refunded £2.1m to those affected, and in lieu of customers it has not been able to trace and refund, it has donated money to charity.
Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom's director of Investigations and Enforcement, said: "Getting bills right is a basic duty for every phone company. But Giffgaff made unacceptable mistakes, leaving millions of customers out of pocket.
"This fine should serve as a warning to all communications providers: if they get bills wrong, we'll step in to protect customers."
Ofcom's £1.4m fine includes a 30 per cent reduction as Giffgaff agreed to settle the case and admitted the breach identified. However, the network was fined an additional penalty of £50,000 for failing to provide "accurate information in response to two statutory information requests issued by Ofcom." µ
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