Both companies received multi million pound fines for unfairly penalising customers who chose to cancel their contracts

The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has fined EE and Virgin Media for unfairly penalising their customers with so called "early exit charges". EE received a fine of £6.3 million and Virgin Media £7 million for over charging customers who attempted to leave their contracted mobile and fixed line broadband plans early.

“EE and Virgin Media broke our rules by overcharging people who ended their contracts early. Those people were left out of pocket, and the charges amounted to millions of pounds.

“That is unacceptable. These fines send a clear message to all phone and broadband firms that they must play by the rules, in the interests of their customers,” said Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s director of Investigations and Enforcement.

EE admitted to the charges and as a result received a slightly lower finer than Virgin Media.

Virgin Media, however, strongly refuted the Ofcom ruling, saying that it was neither "justified, proportionate or reasonable".

“We profoundly disagree with Ofcom’s ruling," said Virgin Media’s CEO, Tom Mockridge.

“A small percentage of customers were charged an incorrect amount when they ended one or more of their services early and for that we are very sorry.

“As soon as we became aware of the mistake we apologised and took swift action to put it right by paying refunds, with interest, to everyone affected. For those few people we could not locate, we have made an equivalent donation to charity.  We also reviewed our internal processes and systems, and improved our customer communications to make sure that this does not happen again.

“We wholeheartedly reject the claim by Ofcom that our ETC levels dissuaded customers from switching.

“This unreasonable decision and excessive fine does not reflect the swift actions we took, the strong evidence we have presented, or our consistent, open and transparent cooperation with the regulator. We will be appealing Ofcom’s decision,” he added.


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