Vodafone to pay back €2.6m

VODAFONE has admitted to another incident of overcharging customers.

Vodafone said yesterday it will reimburse €2.65 million to more than 550,000 customers who use its WAP mobile phone internet services.

The company was forced to return €147,000 to 20,000 customers in July who were overcharged for roaming calls.

In a statement, Vodafone said it had been reviewing all of its charges in the wake of the first incident and as part of that review it discovered another “billing inaccuracy.”

It had called in consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to look at its billing systems and found that the WAP customers were incorrectly charged 25 cent every month over a 19-month period.

Vodafone said that almost half of those affected were overcharged by amounts of less than €1. As a gesture, the company said customers affected will receive a payment of 10% of the overcharged amount.

Vodafone has begun reimbursing customers and they will be repaid within 48 hours.

To prevent any further overcharging, PWC has recommended a number of changes to Vodafone’s billing procedures, which the company says will be implemented.

Meanwhile, telecoms regulator ComReg has scored a victory in its battle with Eircom over the cost of local loop unbundling.

ComReg chairman John Doherty said unbundling the local loop (the wiring that connects homes and businesses to the phone network) was important to introducing more competition to the market.

The loop is owned by Eircom and other phone companies looking for access to the loops will pay Eircom €14.65 per month, a 13% reduction on what the company wanted.

“This reduction coupled with our active and determined approach to ensuring that all associated pricing and processes are competitive and user-friendly will, we believe, provide the basis to re-energise this area.”

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