Mobile phone provider EE has been fined £2.7 million by Ofcom for overcharging customers.
The regulator said EE made two fundamental errors in the billing process which led to it accidentally overcharging tens of thousands of customers more than £245,000.
At least 32,145 people were charged £1.20 per minute instead of 19p per minute for calling its 150 customer services number while roaming in Europe.
And in a separate mistake, EE continued to charge 7,674 customers for calling or texting 150 over several months while in Europe after contacting the number was made free on November 18, 2015 – overcharging them a total of £2,203.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said EE had not taken “enough care”.
“This ended up costing customers thousands of pounds, which is completely unacceptable,” she said.
“We monitor how phone companies bill their customers, and will not tolerate careless mistakes.
“Any company that breaks Ofcom’s rules should expect similar consequences.”
Ofcom also criticised EE, which is owned by BT, for initially deciding not to try and reimburse the majority of those affected as it would prove difficult to identify them.
It instead planned to give the money to charity, until Ofcom intervened.
There are a further 6,905 unidentified people who were overcharged a total of £60,000.
Following its investigation, EE’s penalty was reduced by 10 per cent as it admitted to its mistakes.