Ofcom has fined BT Group’s (LON:BT.A) EE unit and Virgin Media a combined total of £13.3 million for overcharging customers, the industry regulator has said. The fines follow investigations into the companies’ early-exit charges.
BT’s share price has fallen marginally into the red in today’s session, having given up 0.27 percent to 254.20p as of 13:49 GMT. The stock is outperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.86 percent higher at 6,977.31 points.
Ofcom fines EE and Virgin
Ofcom announced in a statement today that it had fined BT’s EE unit and Virgin Media a combined total of £13.3 million for overcharging phone and broadband customers who wanted to leave their contracts early. The fines follow investigations into the companies’ early-exit charges.
“EE and Virgin Media broke our rules by overcharging people who ended their contracts early,” Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s Director of Investigations and Enforcement, said in the statement, adding that those people ‘were left out of pocket’.
The regulator explained that over a six-year period, EE’s ‘discount contracts’ did not clearly set out the charges its mobile customers would have to pay if they ended their contracts early and that up to 15 million discount contracts for the company’s mobile, landline and broadband customers required them to pay excessive early exit charges.
BT’s unit to change terms
EE was fined £6.3 million for its failings, with the fine including a 30-percent reduction as the company admitted the breaches and agreed to settle the case. Ofcom further noted that as part of its cooperation, the BT unit had agreed to change its terms and significantly reduce its charges. The company is further reviewing its processes and systems to make them compliant with the regulator’s rules.