BT Fined £2.8 Million by Ofcom for Contract Failings

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BT has been fined £2.8 million by Ofcom for not providing clear contract information to a million customers of its EE and Plusnet services.

The telecoms regulator identified that these customers were not given essential details about their deals before signing up.

Ofcom’s investigation revealed that some of BT’s sales channels were still not compliant with the regulations, failing to provide the required information at the appropriate time. Since June 2022, phone and broadband companies have been mandated to offer a concise summary of key contract terms, including price, speed, early exit fees, and contract length.

Despite these requirements, EE and Plusnet made over 1.3 million sales without supplying these essential documents. BT acknowledged its failure, resulting in a 30% reduction of the fine.

In response to the breach, BT reached out to customers a year later, allowing them to request the necessary information or cancel their contracts without penalty. However, some customers had already left and might have incurred early exit fees.

Ian Strawhorne, Ofcom’s enforcement director, stated, “For people to take advantage of the competitive telecoms market here in the UK, they must be able to shop around with confidence. When we strengthened our rules to make it easier for consumers to compare deals, we gave providers a strict timeline by which to implement them. It’s unacceptable that BT couldn’t get its act together in time and the company must now pay a penalty for its failings.”

He also issued a warning to other companies, emphasizing that Ofcom will take action when rules protecting customers are violated.

BT must pay the fine within four weeks, with the funds going to the Treasury. Additionally, BT is required to amend its sales processes, identify customers who faced early exit charges, and contact those who did not receive all relevant information.

A BT spokeswoman apologized for the inconvenience and stated, “We apologise for any inconvenience caused and have taken steps to proactively contact affected customers and arrange for them to receive the information and be refunded where applicable. We take compliance seriously at BT and we’re working closely with Ofcom to implement the remedial actions as a result of their findings.”

Following the announcement, BT shares rose by 1¼p, or 0.9 per cent, closing at 129¼p.

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