TalkTalk Warned by Ofcom to Stop Harassing Customers for Non-Existent Accounts or Face Consequences

TalkTalk could face fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue if it doesn't respond to orders from Ofcom.

TalkTalk could face fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue if it doesn’t respond to orders from Ofcom.

The telecoms watchdog, Ofcom, reported the more than 1,100 customers had complaints against TalkTalk. The customers had been aggressively pursued to pay bills that did not exist. Ofcom has told the company to “clean up” its act or consequences would result.

In one case debt collectors pushed a customer to pay 610 pounds for services she had terminated four years ago. Another customer who had closed their account two years ago was pushed to pay a bill for 354 pounds. Ofcom has ordered TalkTalk to call off the aggressive debt collectors and to make repairs to customer’s credit ratings. If the actions demanded aren’t met within the next 30 days TalkTalk could face fines up to 10 per cent of its annual revenue. Last year’s sales were 1.39 billion pounds.

Ofcom’s survey of 100 complaints found 72 had a breach of telecom regulations. Some billings for customers for non-existent accounts were still continuing even five months after the problem was first brought to the attention of the company by Ofcom.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s director of consumer affairs said: “You cannot charge customers for a service that does not exist.

“It is a very serious problem – you would think it would have been sorted out [by now]. The continued harm being done to consumers is unacceptable.”

Robert Hammond, head of telecoms at Consumer Focus said: “It is shocking that it has taken the intervention of the regulator for Talk Talk and Tiscali UK to play fair with their customers.

“To threaten customers, who have done nothing wrong, with debt collection and legal action is beyond the pale. Companies seem to put a lot of effort into winning new customers and then fall down on looking after them once they are on the books.”

Comments & Debate

  1. November 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm Lawrence Highton Commented:

    My wife and I hope OFCOM can put a stop to these Bullies as my wife and I are victims of theirs. We paid our TalkTalk final bill in June For £18. 38p, we received a letter accepting payment. After various letters of Legal Proceedings from Credit Agencies and providing proof of payment they are still pursuing us, So Please we hope this warning from OFCOM will put a stop to this Thank you for taking the time to read this email L Highton

  2. November 4, 2010 at 3:09 am Johnbee Commented:

    I signed up with Talk Talk in April 2009 and cancelled next day. They acknowledged the cancellation but have since pursued me themselves with some letters, and then several different debt collection agencies asking ad nauseum for proofs and threatening court action and visits and harrassing my family – to get them off I paid over £37 but they demand another £30 for a ‘broadband connection’ which they never did. I received the latest threats yesterday from a debt collection agnecy 18 months after I cancelled. Does the law mean nothing to them? Of course it doesn’t. At last someone is trying to deal with them – until today when this news came out, my wife has said it is my fault and I should stop all these people phoning her. She now realises that it i them and not me – so come on OFCOM, Don’t threaten, do it.

  3. November 4, 2010 at 8:59 am S Colyer Commented:

    Talk Talk took £100 out of my account without my permission when I moved house. They took 6 weeks to re-connect me. My new provider BE There (who are fantastic by the way) took 5 days to connect me. Talk Talk also cancelled my old account and setup a new one without my permission removing all the features I had on the old account. I cancelled after 2 months. My monthly premium was £18 and I am still getting debt collectors letters and phone calls for £280 plus fees making £460 on a £36 bill which I had already paid.
    Talk Talk also advertise 24Mb connection and I was getting 1.5Mb. The helpdesk told me “You should have read the small print”.
    Talk Talk are a disgrace and should not be allowed to trade.

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