Giffgaff fined £1.4m for overcharging millions of mobile customers



30.07.2019 09:33

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Giffgaff has been fined £1.4m for overcharging 2.6 million mobile phone customers.

An Ofcom investigation revealed the network, which is owned by O2’s parent company Telefónica, overcharged users a total of almost £2.9m.

The communications regulator said the billing mistake was “unacceptable” and imposed a further £50,000 fine because Giffgaff failed to provide accurate information during its investigation.

“Getting bills right is a basic duty for every phone company. But Giffgaff made unacceptable mistakes, leaving millions of customers out of pocket,” Gaucho Rasmussen, the director of investigations and enforcement at Ofcom, said.

“This fine should serve as a warning to all communications providers: if they get bills wrong, we will step in to protect customers.”

Ofcom said the fine would have been £2m but the penalty was reduced by 30% because Giffgaff agreed to settle the case and admitted the mistake.

Giffgaff customers who pre-paid for “goodybags” – bundles of voice minutes, text messages and data – were in effect charged twice, the regulator said.

This was because there was a delay in Giffgaff applying the bundles to customers’ accounts after they paid for it, which meant calls and data they were using at the time came out of their pre-paid credit instead. Ofcom said the services should have been free immediately after the bundle was purchased.

Giffgaff has already refunded about £2.1m to affected customers. It has also made a donation to charity in lieu of those customers it has not been able to trace and refund.

It said the sum, about £750,000, would be given to 10 charities that customers had nominated over the past year in its “payback donations” scheme.

Ernest Doku, a telecoms specialist at, said: “Giffgaff deserves credit for reporting the mistake to the industry watchdog Ofcom and acting quickly to refund 2.1 million customers. But the fact that almost half a million consumers are still out of pocket is disappointing.”

Ashley Schofield, the chief executive of Giffgaff, said in a post on the company’s customer community website: “On behalf of everyone at Giffgaff, I’d like to apologise again to all those members affected by this and thank you for your ongoing support.

“As a business, we have already begun – and will be fully – implementing the recommendations within Ofcom’s final decision.”

In April, Ofcom named Giffgaff as the mobile phone network with the most satisfied customers.


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