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UK's Ofcom fines EE, Virgin Media for overcharging customers

UK's Ofcom fines EE, Virgin Media for overcharging customers
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen outside an EE mobile phone shop in Manchester, Britain September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble   -   Copyright  PHIL NOBLE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Britain’s Ofcom has fined EE and Virgin Media for overcharging some phone and broadband customers who ended their contracts early, the media regulator said on Friday.

EE, Britain’s biggest mobile operator, will have to pay 6.3 million pounds and Liberty Global-owned <LBTYA.O> cable company Virgin Media 7 million pounds for breaking consumer protection rules, the regulator said.

Ofcom said about 400,000 EE customers who ended their contracts early had to pay early exit penalties of up to 4.3 million pounds, while about 82,000 Virgin Media customers were overcharged about 2.8 million pounds.

The regulator said its investigation found that BT Group Plc’s <BT.L> EE did not clearly set out the exit charges its mobile customers on “discount contracts” would have to pay in case they dropped out early.

EE has volunteered to conduct an in-depth review of its processes and systems following the investigation on overcharging users, Ofcom said.

Last month, Ofcom announced a separate investigation into whether mobile operators EE and Vodafone Group Plc <VOD.L> had provided accurate information about the coverage of their 3G and 4G mobile networks.

BT and Virgin Media were not immediately available for comments.

($1 = 0.7809 pounds)

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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