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Ofcom UK Questions O2’s Compliance in Ongoing Billing Probe UPDATE

Friday, December 13th, 2019 (10:59 am) - Score 1,448

The UK telecoms regulator has opened a second investigation into O2, which is examining whether or not the mobile operator provided “complete, accurate and on time” information to them as part of their on-going probe into an “Extraordinary Performance Failure” of the company’s metering and billing system.

At present broadband ISPs and mobile operators are all required to have systems and processes in place which are fit for purpose, deliver accurate bills and ensure that consumers are not overcharged for services. This also requires providers to obtain approval of their metering and billing systems from third-party assessors, known as Approval Bodies.

Back in July 2019 Ofcom revealed that an Approval Body working for O2 had notified the regulator of a Category 1 Extraordinary Performance Failure (EPF) at the operator (here). The notice suggested that “from at least 1 January 2012 – 7 March 2019, O2 took duplicate final direct debit payments from customers who terminated their contracts on a Saturday or Sunday and had an outstanding periodic bill to pay.”

The regulator immediately opened an investigation and began gathering evidence, which was due to complete this month. Communications providers like O2 are required, under section 135 of the Communications Act, to provide complete and accurate information upon request, in a designated format, and within a reasonable time period. However Ofcom appears to have had some problems on this front.

Ofcom’s Statement

Ofcom’s investigation will examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that O2 has failed to comply with its obligations under section 135, namely whether O2’s responses to information requests were complete, accurate and on time.

Sadly we aren’t told precisely what information or request may have run afoul of the rules, although they intend to continue gathering evidence on this separate probe until the end of January 2020. As we said in July, cases like this tend to take a long time to investigate and they usually go much more smoothly when the regulator gets what it wants. We expect it could be mid-2020 or possibly later before the final outcome is known.

UPDATE 8pm

A Spokesperson for O2 told ISPreview.co.uk: “We worked openly with Ofcom throughout this matter and will continue to cooperate with them for this investigation. We took initial steps to refund and apologise to affected customers, and our investigations to identify any others impacted are ongoing.”

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1 Response
  1. Avatar Eileen mc daid

    I have been trying to upgrade for example weeks but can’t get anyone to explain or get back to me

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