Independent regulator Ofcom has told TalkTalk and Tiscali UK to stop breaching telecoms rules or they could face a financial penalty. Both companies were found to have issued bills for services that had been cancelled and overall Ofcom had received over 1,000 complaints in 2010 alone.
“Ofcom found that TalkTalk and Tiscali UK have breached telecoms regulations by issuing bills to consumers for services that have not been provided. Both companies issued bills for services consumers had cancelled,” an official Ofcom statement said.
Ofcom has issued TalkTalk and Tiscali UK – which are both part of TalkTalk Group – with a legally-binding notification requiring them to comply with the rules, known as a ‘General Condition’, by 2 December 2010 or face further enforcement action. The maximum penalty is a fine of 10 per cent of relevant turnover.
The Notification also requires TalkTalk and Tiscali UK to take steps to remedy the harm they caused to consumers, which include but are not limited to:
* Providing refunds to all consumers who were billed for cancelled services since 1 January 2010;
* Stopping debt collection action, and withdrawing from any legal proceedings (if started), against consumers and paying their reasonable legal costs;
* Taking any necessary steps to repair credit ratings of affected consumers, such as notifying credit reference agencies where relevant.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s director of consumer affairs, said the regulator was determined to stand up for consumers and take action against companies that break the rules.
“Our investigation into TalkTalk and Tiscali UK found that they had billed customers for cancelled services; this is unacceptable which is why we have ordered them to clean up their act or face the consequences,” she added.