Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, revealed that it had fined UK telecoms giant Vodafone £4.6 million ($5.6 million) for breaching rules designed to protect customers. Ofcom said it uncovered evidence of Vodafone’s “mis-selling, inaccurate billing and poor complaints handling processes”.
According to a statement by Ofcom, it had conducted two investigations into Vodafone which had failed to credit the accounts of 10,452 pay-as-you-go mobile customers in Britain, while also mishandling their complaints. This series of mishandlings took place over a 17 month period up to April 2015. During that time, the affected customers lost a combined £150,000.
"Vodafone's failings were serious and unacceptable, and these fines send a clear warning to all telecoms companies," said Ofcom consumer group director Lindsey Fussell.
Vodafone, based in London, expressed its “profound apologies” for the mishandlings. "We deeply regret these system and process failures,” the company said. “We are completely focused on serving our customers: everyone who works for us is expected to do their utmost to meet our customers' needs, day after day, and act quickly and efficiently if something goes wrong.”
"It is clear from Ofcom's findings that we did not do that often enough or well enough on a number of occasions. We offer our profound apologies to anyone affected by these errors." Britain's Vodafone is second only to China Mobile in terms of subscriber numbers around the world.