UK broadband service provider TalkTalk and its subsidiary Tiscali have been fined a total of GBP3 million (USD4.9 million) by Ofcom for mischarging thousands of their residential customers, the London Evening Standard reports. The watchdog found that in over 62,000 individual cases between 1 January and 1 November 2010 TalkTalk and Tiscali had incorrectly issued bills to customers for services they had not in fact received. The regulator found too, that consumers who had closed their accounts were often the worst affected.
The paper says that Ofcom issued both ISPs with a legally-binding notification in November last year and set a deadline of 2 December for them to rectify their billing problems. However, although TalkTalk and Tiscali UK did effect some remedial actions to comply with the rules, the ISPs did still incorrectly bill almost 3,000 customers between 2 December 2010 and 4 March 2011. In its decision, Ofcom said the financial penalty it has imposed reflects the ‘seriousness of their breach of the rules and to act as a deterrent to them and other telecoms companies who must comply with the rules’. The two companies must now pay over GBP2.5 million in refunds and goodwill payments to an estimated 65,000 customers.