O2 UK fined for overcharging departing subscribers

12 Feb 2021

Ofcom has fined domestic mobile network operator (MNO) O2 UK GBP10.5 million (USD13.8 million) for overcharging subscribers that were leaving it, having previously opened an investigation into potential issues with the way the cellco was billing customers who were leaving it back in 2019.

In its investigation, the UK telecoms regulator found that between at least 2011 and 2019 an error in the way O2 UK’s systems calculated the final bills for pay monthly mobile customers meant many people were billed for some charges twice. In total, more than 250,000 customers were incorrectly billed, amounting to GBP40.7 million, with around 140,000 of those having actually paid the extra charges, totalling around GBP2.4 million. While the MNO initially identified issues with its billing processes in 2011, the report concluded that efforts to address these problems were not successful and customers continued to be overcharged.

As a result of its findings, Ofcom confirmed it had fined O2 UK after determining that the cellco had breached rules which require operators to provide customers with accurate bills and charges. For its part, the operator accepted the findings of the investigation, and has refunded affected customers in full, plus an additional 4%. For those customers that the MNO has not been able to reach, it has committed to make a donation to charity for the equivalent amount of money those customers were overcharged. O2 UK has also confirmed it has changed its billing processes to prevent this issue arising again.

United Kingdom, O2 UK, Ofcom