Ofcom to TalkTalk, Tiscali: Stop over-billing
Or get fined
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has told TalkTalk and Tiscali UK to stop charging customers for services they have not received, or face a fine.
Which seems fair. Ofcom said it had received over 1,000 complaints this year from punters who've been billed for services they had already cancelled.
The regulator has sent both firms a legally-binding notification to either obey the rules or pay a fine. Ofcom can, in theory, fine a company 10 per cent of its turnover.
The two telcos have until 2 December to sort out their systems. They must refund customers wrongly billed, stop setting the bailiffs on people still supposedly owing money due to dodgy billing and inform credit agencies in order restore credit ratings of customers wrongly accused of not paying bills.
Two examples were given by Ofcom. Customer A switched her landline from TalkTalk to another telco in January 2010 but continued to get bills from TalkTalk – despite spending over an hour on the phone to call centres.
Customer B cancelled her account with Tiscali in February 2006 but was billed for another £609. Eventually the debt was sent to bailiffs to reclaim.
Customer C cancelled a broadband deal with Tiscali but was still being billed two years later. ®
Isn't sending people bills for stuff they have not bought plain and simple fraud?
Just ask the police to get involved.
A tale of 2 bills
I went through thids farago a couple of years back.
When you cancel say, your broadband you have to explicity cancel your phone by calling another dept. Not that anyone actually tells you this, but that's the story.
You keep phoning up and people keep telling you that you've cancelled and you've got the cancellation letter...but that's just for the broadband.
Without the "you must cancel the phone seperately" info, you still get billed and get ballifs.
RE: just happened to me
>> For what its worth I've been told by several people who work for credit companies that they ignore anything on a credit history from any telecoms company for this exact reason.
I can tell you that is not universal - though it should be. I had a "disagreement" with Orange back in 2003 and their complete and utter refusal to employ anything that might even tenuously be described as reasonable practice meant that they eventually put a default notice on my file. Since I had no desire whatsoever to have any more contact with the <insert derogatory term of your choice> numpties at Orange, I just ignored it on the basis that :
a) any sensible person would be able to see that it's completely out of character (there are several other mobile accounts listed, all in good standing)
b) it's from a company with a well established track record of being <insert derogatory term of your choice> incompetent idiots
and c) it would expire in a couple of years anyway.
I recently applied for a new mortgage - and one of the stipulation is that I have to clear the bad debt.
Fortunately, the rules for CISAS have now changed, so this IS going to arbitration for which Orange will have to pay - previously they could prevent it by making excuses to refuse to provide a deadlock letter. Of course, Orange could do the sensible thing, admit their error and apologise - but my money is on them dragging it out and hopefully getting ordered to apologise by the arbitrator.
And I'll be asking to be paid what they owe me as well !