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Ofcom Corrects its Investigation of Plusnet’s Wrongful Broadband Billing

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 (3:59 pm) - Score 609

The UK telecoms regulator has corrected a mistake with an earlier investigation, albeit while once again finding “reasonable grounds to believe” that Plusnet had incorrectly billed customers of their broadband and phone services between 26th May 2011 and 3rd September 2015.

Last year Ofcom concluded that the ISP had, between 7th March 2008 and 3rd September 2015, potentially broken the rules (here) by “rendering bills to end-users in respect of broadband and telephony services for amounts that did not represent and exceeded the true extent of the service actually provided to them,” not least by continuing to “bill certain end-users for broadband and telephony service after their service had been cancelled.”

However the regulator later revealed that it had overlooked a number of relevant changes to their legal enforcement powers, which weren’t introduced until May 2011. As a result they had to retract their notice to Plusnet, pending a re-examination (here). Today Ofcom has reached the same conclusion as before, albeit covering the much shorter period from 26th May 2011 to 3rd September 2015.

The tweak is likely to mean that any future penalties for Plusnet’s behaviour could be reduced so as to reflect the shorter period. Similarly it’s important to point out that the ISP had voluntarily submitted itself for investigation after discovering the issue itself and they’ve already moved to rectify the damage, which will no doubt work in their favour.

A spokesperson for Plusnet has also apologised to those affected and told ISPreview.co.uk that the problem only resulted in a “very small number” of their customers being overcharged. “We reported it to Ofcom and contacted all affected customers so we could arrange a full refund, before the investigation had begun. A number of new robust measures have been implemented to prevent this from happening again,” said the ISP.

Ofcom will now await Plusnet’s response before deciding what, if any, penalties should be applied. The regulator has recently been handing out quite a few fines for billing errors, although Plusnet’s case appears to be on a smaller scale earlier rulings.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar George M

    If you read the Plusnet forums, you will still find complaints from January 2017 of Plusnet still charging customers several months after they have left. This is not just historic.

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