| 3.8°C Dublin

Virgin told to refund €3m after overcharging 107,000 customers

Company admits overbilling for six-year period

Close

ComReg said Virgin Media failed to proactively refund customers

ComReg said Virgin Media failed to proactively refund customers

ComReg said Virgin Media failed to proactively refund customers

Virgin Media Ireland has been told by the telecoms regulator ComReg to refund 107,000 customers a total of €3m, after admitting that it has been overcharging them for six years.

It is one of the largest cases of overbilling in Irish telecoms history.

Virgin was continuing to charge customers after services were cancelled. It then failed to refund customers.

It has affected 265,000 Virgin Media broadband and television customers over the six-year period.

Virgin has until March 31 to repay the 107,000 outstanding customers that have not had a credit applied, or which have left the service. The average customer refund will be €33.

"Since June 2014 over 264,703 Virgin Media customers were charged for services beyond their cancellation date, known as post cancellation charge," according to a notice on Virgin Media's website that has been published to comply with ComReg's ruling.

"Virgin Media did not automatically refund customers that paid for charges beyond their cancellation date. ComReg's investigation found that over 141,000 customers were affected by this issue and some have been refunded.

"At least €2,963,895 credit on 107,185 customers' accounts was not claimed back.

"We are committed to issuing refunds to all affected customers by the end of March 2021. If you are one of these customers be assured that Virgin Media will issue you with a full refund to the last known address by this date."

It's not the first time this year that Virgin has been in trouble over questionable billing practices.

In February, ComReg found the operator misapplied late payment fees and lost equipment fees. Virgin Media was ordered to pay customers a total of €421,000. The misapplied fees occurred between 2016 and 2017.

A spokesperson for Virgin declined to say whether the €421,000 has been repaid to customers wrongly charged for late payment fees.

Cooperate

However, of the €3m owed to 107,000 customers in the overcharging case, a ComReg spokesperson said: "Virgin Media has agreed to provide specific information to verify (that Virgin will comply with the refunds order).

"ComReg is satisfied that Virgin Media intends to fully cooperate to refund all affected customers."

ComReg said Virgin Media will now review all credits on inactive accounts and refund those credits to customers by June 30 next year.

"Virgin Media will not in the future allow credit to remain on closed or inactive accounts," it said.

A Virgin Media spokeswoman said: "Virgin Media takes regulatory compliance extremely seriously and it is our position that we are in full compliance with all our regulatory obligations.

"Virgin Media has proactively co-operated with ComReg throughout this entire process and we note the investigation has now concluded," she added.

Virgin Media has established a dedicated helpline - 1800 941 770 - for customers to call in respect of the refund process and will publish information on its website for customers affected by the issue.


Privacy