Ofcom has fined BT £245,000 after an investigation found that the company overcharged EE’s mobile customers for making calls to 118 directory enquiries services.
Many people rely on use of directory enquiries as an important means of obtaining the number they need. Older people and those without internet access are more likely to make 118 calls.
Ofcom introduced a price cap on 118 phone numbers in April 2019 in order to protect vulnerable people and ensure fairer prices. Ofcom investigation found that BT did not implement this immediately for EE customers.
As a result, between April and June last year, almost 6,000 EE customers were overcharged by around £42,000 for making calls to 118 numbers. BT was able to correct most bills before EE customers paid them. This meant that around £10,000 of the total amount overcharged was paid by EE customers. All customers have since been refunded.
BT’s failure to implement the 118 price cap was a serious breach of rules, particularly taking into account the potentially vulnerable people that use directory enquiry services.
The penalty includes a 30 percent discount in recognition that BT admitted its failings by agreeing to settle the case.