Talk Talk fined for incorrect billing

Talk Talk and related company Tiscali have been fined £3m by Ofcom for charging 65,000 customers for services that they did not receive.

TalkTalk said it was 'disappointed' at the scale of the fine, the largest ever imposed upon a telecoms provider, describing it as 'disproportionate.'

Following complaints from more than 1000 customers, Ofcom launched an investigation into the telecoms group, and found that it had wrongly billed many customers between January and November 2010. The company has since refunded £2.5m to people who had received the wrong bills. Ofcom, which is able to fine companies that breach telecoms rules up to 10 percent of their releveant turnover, said the fine reflected the 'seriousness of their breach of the rules,' intended to act as 'a deterrent to them and other telecoms companies who must comply with the rules.'

In a statement, Talk Talk said: 'We are pleased that Ofcom has recognised the significant steps we've taken to solve this problem and has acknowledged that the issues surrounding the integration of the Tiscali business in 2010 are behind us.'

'The billing migration was completed last year and in the last three months Ofcom has received only 12 complaints on the issue. In addition, as announced in February, every customer impacted has been reimbursed and compensated with payments totalling over £2.5m.

'Last year I recognised that we needed to invest in our systems, processes and customer services and we are making significant progress. We have seen a 40% year-on-year reduction in customer service calls; Ofcom receives three times fewer calls about TalkTalk than they did at the height of the Tiscali integration; and our 5 million customers are more loyal and more satisfied than they were 12 months ago.

'We are of course disappointed at the scale of the fine and feel it is a disproportionate penalty. However, we are striving to continually improve and invest in customer experience and are pleased at the clear progress we are starting to make.'

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