Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/26/o2_ofcom_openair/

Ofcom probes O2 billing blunder claims

Not-so-free minutes

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 26th October 2004 10:41 GMT

O2 - the UK mobile operator that's prepared to go to court if anyone messes with its bubbles - is once again fending off allegations that it has been ripping off its punters.

In September, O2 was forced to dismiss allegations that its billing system was up the creek and that it was overcharging customers of its mobile phone service. The claims were made by mobile reseller OpenAir, which alleged that O2 charged punters for "free minutes" that were supposed to be part of punters' call tariff plans.

Now, OpenAir has submitted a 67-page report to communications regulator Ofcom detailing its accusations. According to the Financial Times, Ofcom asked OpenAir for the report and has now asked O2 to respond. The newspaper cites one example from the OpenAir report where one company was billed a whopping £28,000 a month for running 125 O2 phones. The bill should have been less than £1,000, said OpenAir.

The matter has also been picked up by Labour MP Brian Donohoe, who wrote to O2 boss Peter Erskine in September "with great concern that you are overcharging customers for call charges due to simple miscalculation errors by your computer system".

Wrote Mr Donohoe: "I have been contacted by one customer who has just found that they have been overcharged for at least nine months in the last year, and I am appealing for more customers to check their bills and come forward if they find a similar pattern. In one case a customer was charged almost £10 more a month than they should have been."

No one from O2 was available for comment at the time of writing although the company has previously denied that it overcharged punters. ®

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