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Ofcom fines BT £2.8 million for failing its EE and Plusnet customers

BT products

The UK’s digital regulator, Ofcom, has fined BT £2.8 million for not giving its EE and Plusnet customers a contract summary and information documents before they signed up. According to Ofcom, telecom providers have had to provide these documents before they sign up since June 2022.

Since that time, EE and Plusnet have made more than 1.3 million sales, affecting 1.1 million customers. To make matters worse, Ofcom worked with providers in the run-up to the implementation of the new rules, and BT told the regulator in February 2022 that it was confident the deadline would be met.

As part of its investigation, Ofcom found evidence that suggested BT knew it wouldn’t meet the deadline as early as January 2022. Ofcom accused BT of deliberately choosing not to comply with the rules in some cases too. It said that other providers put resources in place to meet the deadline, while BT decided to save money and not get in line with the new rules.

Ofcom said that BT had been fined £2,800,000 to reflect the seriousness of the breach, and it has also told to refund any customers who were charged for leaving before the end of their contract within five months of this decision. In the next three months, BT must contact existing customers to give them their contract information and the right to cancel their contract without charge. BT must also ensure that all remaining sales processes are compliant with the rules within the next three months.

Commenting on the decision, Ian Strawhorne, Ofcom Enforcement Director, said:

“For people to take advantage of the competitive telecoms market here in the UK, they must be able to shop around with confidence.

When we strengthened our rules to make it easier for consumers to compare deals, we gave providers a strict timeline by which to implement them. It’s unacceptable that BT couldn’t get its act together in time, and the company must now pay a penalty for its failings.

We won’t hesitate to step in on behalf of phone and broadband customers when our rules to protect them are broken.”

Ofcom didn’t say whether any other companies were breaking these rules, but hopefully, the fine will kick BT into action so that it is compliant with the regulations.

Source: Ofcom

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