UK telecom regulator Ofcom has revealed that it has fined £6.3 million on EE and £7 million on Virgin Media for breaking consumer protection rules.
Ofcom said both Virgin Media and EE levied excessive charges to customers who ended their phone and broadband contracts early.
Ofcom guidelines say that exit charges must be made clear to customers, and must not make switching to another provider too costly.
EE over-billed around 400,000 customers who ended their contracts early. These EE customers over-paid up to £4.3 million.
EE did not reveal terms related to EE’s discount contracts to its mobile customers. Up to 15 million discount contracts for EE’s mobile, landline and broadband customers required them to pay excessive early exit charges.
Of those customers, 400,000 decided to leave their contracts early and they were collectively over-billed by up to £13.5 million in early exit charges.
Virgin Media over-billed almost 82,000 Virgin Media customers by £2.8 million.Virgin Media levied early-exit charges that were higher than customers had agreed to when signing up to their residential contracts.
The company overcharged almost 82,000 customers who left their contracts early, by £2.8 million – an average of £34 per person. Some 6,800 customers were overcharged by more than £100.
Virgin Media failed to publish clear information on its website to help customers understand its early-exit charges.