back to article TalkTalk, Tiscali fined £3m in bogus billing smackdown

TalkTalk and Tiscali have been hit with a big fine from Ofcom, after wrongly billing tens of thousands of customers for services they never received. The £3m penalty was slapped on the companies following their failure to clean up their billing systems. The communications watchdog said this morning that the two telcos are …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hoorah for that!

    Tiscali cost me the apartment I wanted because I refused to pay for a service I wasn't receiving.

    I wouldn't mind a small slice of that fine money to compensate me for that ;-)

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      So you paid?

      So in the end you paid or did they mark it against your credit rating?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    That reminds me

    They still owe me the 25 quid they charged me after I had moved to another provider.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    I hope customers voting with their feet will be an even bigger wake-up call

    Yes, billing is hard. It's also practically the core business. You basically outsource the rest to Nokia-Siemens Networks.

    Get with the program.

    Gotta go. Yes, mine's the one with the golden parachute stipulating how many customers I have to have in the database by date X.

  4. xyz

    The c***s deserve everything they get

    It took me months to stop being ripped off by this bunch of sharks after I closed my account. When you closed your broadband account, you didn't close your phone account which you didn't even know you had in the first place. Of course they never told you that ether. If a facebook rioter can get 4 years, this lot deserves castration at a minimum.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The cats?

      Goto: Title

      1. xyz

        The Cats....?

        You can't co*nt...see optician

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay peanuts

    and you get shite service. TalkTalk has always been appalling and anyone in the UK who uses Tiscali REALLY deserves everything they get. I got no sympathy at all for you if you've used them.

    I hope people had the good sense to ignore the "arbitration services" & Ofcom and head straight for the small claims track. You can get a very decent amount there for harassment/unreasonable behaviour on the part of the plaintiff. There really isn't any point in playing the telecos/Ofcom's game - just bypass it and provided you're not a vexatious litigant then you'll get a MUCH better result in a faster timescale.

    Contrary to what most people seem to believe there is no compulsion on you to use any of these self regulating industry schemes - just present a decent argument to whoever is chairing the small claims track meeting and you'll do much much better. Not that it'll get that far as companies KNOW they lose the vast majority of small claims track cases.

    To the AC above - you should be claiming for costs in that case. Assuming of course it was documented.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Small claims

      "You can get a very decent amount there for harassment/unreasonable behaviour ..."

      I thought that you could only get your losses back from small claims? I thought that if you wanted restitution for harassment, you had to go to proper court?

  6. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Smaller fine?

    "Ofcom is issuing TalkTalk and Tiscali UK with a lower penalty than they might otherwise have been given, had they not taken steps towards complying with the rules, and taken action to remedy the harm they caused to consumers."

    WTF?? So they were breaking the rules already. Then Ofcom told them that they should not (without fining them). They still broke the rules, so Ofcom gives them a fine but smaller than the maximum?

    Jesus! They should've fined them first time around. Considering the way that Ofcom hit all the 3G operators hard for doing nothing wrong, they should've taken the maximum fine from Tiscali / Talk Talk for continuing to break the rules and put their CEOs in stocks & invited their customers over for a party!

    1. Jim Morrow

      why tiscali didn't get a maximum fine

      apparently ofcom feels they should only go for maximum fine in cases of malice or deliberate fraud. this didn't apply to those arseholes at talk talk/tiscali. yes, they were/are stunningly incompetent and very probably had/have useless management and directors. however it would be hard to prove they deliberately committed fraud: ie acting like some fly-by-night crook who ran off with customer's money and knew they had no intention of providing any sort of service at all. even if you use the rather vague concept of service that twat-twat provide.

      1. Steven Jones

        "deliberate fraud"

        "apparently ofcom feels they should only go for maximum fine in cases of malice or deliberate fraud."

        The maximum fine isn't there for Ofcom to usurp the role of a proper criminal court, which is where deliberate fraud (and I'd like to know what "non-deliberate" fraud might look like). If wrecking thousands of people's credit ratings through wilful neglect isn't worth a hefty fine from a regulator, I can't imagine what else it is for.

  7. Natalie Gritpants

    So can I sue the blood-sucking ambulance chasers they set on me

    after they tried to bill me for services after I had left?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still waiting for the fun to start...

    I left TT in May, they've just sent me a letter saying that they've noticed!

    I'm still waiting to see if they will try billing me for the last 3 months I haven't been with them.

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      good luck

      lol , hope you got some proof you notified them

  9. Ben Holmes

    Just left...

    ...Tiscali / TalkTalk. They say in the letter that I could receive upto 'two more bills' from them. I'm not entirely certain why.

    Still, it's a small price to pay to be rid of them.

    1. gilgorth

      Be careful

      Because they actually haven't told the billing department you have left. Be careful, I trusted them when I left Tiscali and 6 months later found they had been still regularly debiting my account. Took about 3 months to get them to pay me back.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    What's the point of a fine?

    The fine will (as with fines for 'white-collar crime' in general) simply be passed on to the customers and the net effect will be minimal.

    There are individuals responsible for this state of affairs at TT. They should be paying the fines individually. If the individuals to blame cannot be identified, then the directors responsible at the time in question should be paying the fines. Individually.

    After all, the directors and others at the top pay themselves very nicely when things go well, presumably because they believe they are responsible. When things go very badly, they should presumably be just as responsible. Individually.

    That kind of approach might encourage a bit more focus at the top.

    1. auburnman

      It further reduces their competitiveness

      They can only pass the fines on to customers by charging more than their competitors, which will provide a further reason for more customers to switch. Which will in turn lead to more complaints if they haven't sorted out the billing properly, which probably means another (hopefully larger) fine. It's the beginning of a vicious cycle which they can only break out of by being a better business and treating customers well enough that the complaints and bad press peters out.

      In theory anyway.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any advice

    Talk Talk debited my card for a service I stopped before they took over the company I previously left. What bothers me is that I never had automatic billing. I paid pro actively by card each year to the old company when payment was due. I managed to eventually receive my money back after emails to the top. Am I entitled to compensation for all the trauma I had(Threatening letters etc.?)

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