Ofcom fines TalkTalk £3m

Steve Dinneen
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OFCOM has handed out a £3m fine to telecoms provider TalkTalk after it incorrectly billed tens of thousands of consumers for services they had not received.

TalkTalk yesterday said it was “disappointed” by the size of the fine – a record for a telecoms company – but said it will not appeal it.

After a year-long investigation Ofcom concluded TalkTalk had wrongly charged some 65,000 customers as it integrated Tiscali into its operations. Of these, 3,000 were wrongly billed after the matter had come to the attention of Ofcom in July 2010.

TalkTalk has since paid out £2.5m in refunds and goodwill payments to its customers and says it has moved on from the difficult transition.

The fine, which will be given to Ofcom and passed on to the Treasury, must be paid within 30 days.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We consider this to be a serious breach of the rules. However, we are issuing a lower penalty than might otherwise have been given, had the company not taken action to remedy the harm they caused to consumers.”

A TalkTalk spokesman said: “We are of course disappointed at the scale of the fine and feel it is a disproportionate penalty.” TalkTalk shares tumbled 4.5 per cent in a choppy market.