Ofcom rebukes TalkTalk for billing former customers
Ofcom has told off TalkTalk and Tiscali for continuing to charge customers after they’ve ended their contracts with the ISPs.
The TalkTalk Group – which owns the Tiscali brand – has had 1,000 such complaints against it this year, the watchdog said.
Ofcom claimed one customer switched her landline from TalkTalk, but continued to receive bills, while another was charged £609 and referred to a debt collector after cancelling an account with Tiscali.
Yet another customer cancelled his Tiscali broadband in 2008, but was referred to a debt collector two years later over £353 in unpaid bills for the service he no longer received.
This is unacceptable which is why we have ordered them to clean up their act or face the consequences
“Our investigation into TalkTalk and Tiscali UK found that they had billed customers for cancelled services,” Ofcom’s director of consumer affairs Claudio Pollack said. “This is unacceptable which is why we have ordered them to clean up their act or face the consequences.”
Ofcom is requiring the company to sort out the issue by 2 December or face a penalty up to 10% of its turnover. In March, the TalkTalk Group posted annual revenue of £1.6 billion for 2009/10.
The TalkTalk Group must also refund all customers, stop legal action against consumers for unpaid bills, and notify credit agencies if any consumers have had their credit ratings damaged.
“We identified an issue with the cancellation process for ex-Tiscali customers caused by an error on a legacy billing system,” a spokesperson for the TalkTalk Group said. “We are resolving this by migrating all ex-Tiscali customers onto one network and billing system which will allow us to process cancellations much more effectively.”
“TalkTalk Group has co-operated fully with Ofcom’s investigation and we apologise for the inconvenience caused to this limited group of former customers,” the spokesperson said.
Carphone Warehouse bought Tiscali last year, and then spun off TalkTalk and the ISP. The Tiscali brand was officially killed off earlier this year.