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Virgin Media to appeal Ofcom’s Early Termination Charge ruling

Virgin Media Staff

Virgin Media strongly disagrees with the decision taken by Ofcom today. We believe it to be both unjustified and disproportionate. The Company will now appeal Ofcom’s decision in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. 

Early Termination Charges (ETCs) are widely used by businesses across a number of sectors to calculate the payment due should a customer decide to leave before the end of their agreed contractual term. 

Between September 2016 and August 2017, Virgin Media mistakenly overcharged 1.5% of its 5.5 million cable customers.  This clearly should not have happened and we have taken a number of steps to make sure that it does not happen again.  We carried out a full review of our systems and processes, which included introducing a new automated ETC calculator for our Customer Care Agents as soon as we could.  We have also improved customer communications, updated our website and made our policy easier to understand.

Virgin Media has always informed both existing and potential customers that our contracts apply over a specific period, that ending a contract early may result in a fee being charged and that they should consider the length of contracts before entering into them. Rolling 30 day contracts are also available for customers who want more flexibility and do not wish to sign up for a fixed period, such as 12 months.

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said:

We profoundly disagree with Ofcom’s ruling. This decision and fine is not justified, proportionate or reasonable.

A small percentage of customers were charged an incorrect amount when they ended one or more of their services early and for that we are very sorry.

As soon as we became aware of the mistake we apologised and took swift action to put it right by paying refunds, with interest, to everyone affected. For those few people we could not locate, we have made an equivalent donation to charity.  We also reviewed our internal processes and systems, and improved our customer communications to make sure that this does not happen again.

We wholeheartedly reject the claim by Ofcom that our ETC levels dissuaded customers from switching.

This unreasonable decision and excessive fine does not reflect the swift actions we took, the strong evidence we have presented, or our consistent, open and transparent cooperation with the regulator.  We will be appealing Ofcom’s decision.”
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