Ofcom Probing Billing Failures by Both O2 and giffgaff

Telecoms market regulator Ofcom has opened an investigation into O2, over claims it issued inaccurate bills to thousands of customers between 2012 and 2019.

Reportedly, from at least 1 January 2012 until 7 March 2019, O2 took duplicate final direct debit payments from customers who terminated their contracts on Saturday or Sunday and had an outstanding periodic bill to pay.

The termination bill issued to these customers did not take into account other payments made against the outstanding balance when calculating the final charge. That means final payments may have been taken twice.

This is a violation of Ofcom rules requiring providers ensure their bills are accurate and correspond to services received by the customer. Reportedly O2 also didn’t take sufficient steps to address the fault.

Ofcom has classified the billing errors as an “extraordinary performance failure” and launched an investigation. The regulator is aiming to gather all relevant evidence by the end of December this year, which means its ruling can be expected in 2020.

Meanwhile, giffgaff, an MVNO piggybacking on O2’s network, is also in hot water with the regulator, after it allegedly supplied inaccurate information during the course of Ofcom’s investigation into its billing processes.

Ofcom launched the probe into the budget mobile provider’s billing in September 2018, after allegations that giffgaff had been issuing inaccurate bills due to a fault that started in June 2016.

Ofcom has reason to believe that giffgaff provided incorrect information in response to two information requests as part of this investigation, it announced.

It is now giving the provider the chance to respond correctly by handing down its judgment.

Ofcom has been busy peering into the practices of mobile operators this week, after news broke that it was also probing EE and Sky Mobile over potential violations of net neutrality rules.

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