Vodafone to refund €2m to 50,000 customers


VODAFONE IS to refund nearly €2 million to more than 50,000 customers who it overcharged to access a range or premium-rate services including telephone sex lines and so-called psychic phone lines over a period of more than three years.

The company said the billing error only emerged after it carried out an internal audit of premium-rate numbers. A spokeswoman said the majority of overcharged calls were connected with phone calling cards which require people to dial international call access codes and saw customers charged at a higher rate to those set out on the Vodafone Ireland website.

She said the error affected pay-as-you-go customers and was caused by a failure in internal processes connected to numbers starting with 1520, 1580 and 1590. The charges were 10 cent, 30 cent and 30 cent per minute higher than the published rates of €0.25, €2.99 and €3.69 per minute respectively.

For about 54,000 customers, the amount overcharged was below €50. In about 1,200 cases, the amount overcharged was between €50 and €100; in 850 cases, the amount was over €100 while about 70 people were overcharged by more than €500.

All told, the company said €1.9 million had been billed incorrectly during the period from December 2008 until December 2011. “This error was identified in December 2011 and immediately Vodafone resolved the issue, informed ComReg and directly began a process to determine the impact to customers.”