Vodafone fined £4.6 million for failing customers

Ofcom investigation uncovered mis-selling, inaccurate billing and poor complaints handling procedures

Vodafone will be fined £4,625,000 by Ofcom for serious and sustained breaches of consumer protection rules.
The penalty is the result of two investigations into Vodafone completed by Ofcom today.

One investigation found that 10,452 pay-as-you-go customers lost out when Vodafone failed to credit their accounts after they paid to ‘top-up’ their mobile phone credit.1 The affected customers collectively lost £150,000 over a 17-month period.2

Vodafone also failed to act quickly enough to identify or address these problems, which stemmed from the company transferring to a new billing system.3 Only after Ofcom intervened did the company take effective steps to stop pay-as-you-go customers from paying money for nothing, and to reimburse those affected.

Vodafone also breached Ofcom’s billing rules, because the top-ups that consumers had bought in good faith were not reflected in their credit balances.

In a second investigation, we found that Vodafone failed to comply with our rules on handling customer complaints.

Vodafone’s customer service agents were not given sufficiently clear guidance on what constituted a complaint, while its processes were insufficient to ensure that all complaints were appropriately escalated or dealt with in a fair, timely manner.

Vodafone’s procedures also failed to ensure that customers were told, in writing, of their right to take an unresolved complaint to a third-party resolution scheme after eight weeks.

 

Published by Ofcom, October 26th 2016.