Vodafone Ireland’s bill for overcharging rises to €1.6m

Vodafone has agreed to refund customers in Ireland €1.2m after overcharging them for premium calls over the past three years.

The operator will pay €950,000 directly to Ireland’s regulator ComReg and it has also set aside a further €250,000 to refund customers whose details it no longer holds.

The company was found to have overcharged prepaid mobile customers for calls to premium phone lines, during the period from December 2008 through to December 2011. Customers affected during this period, for which detailed records are available, will be refunded approximately €800,000, including compensation for inconvenience caused.

In approximately 1,200 cases the amount overcharged is between €50 and €100, in 850 cases, the amount overcharged is over €100 and in approximately 70 cases it is over €500. The majority of these payments will be automatic by way of credit applied to the customer’s phone and will be made over the next few days. Any monies not refunded to customers from this pool will be donated to charity, said Vodafone.

The operator was also forced to pay ComReg €400,000 earlier this year, for for failing to automatically apply a spending cap of €50 to all data roaming customers who had not chosen to opt out of the data cap. This takes Vodafone’s bill for refunding customers it has incorrectly billed to €1.6m this year.

Vodafone has now carried out a full review and admitted that amount that has been incorrectly billed during the period actually stands at €1.9m. It is now carrying out an independent audit of its billing processes and, for the next two years, it will implement an internal governance process whereby ComReg will be formally advised of Vodafone’s ongoing monitoring of the reconciliation of published prices and charges actually imposed on customers.

“Vodafone Ireland regrets the impact that this has had on customers and has revised processes and strengthened price control mechanisms with regard to its website.  The company has also introduced a new internal governance process to ensure that errors are detected promptly and to support swift resolution.”

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