Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Vodafone fined $350,000 for incorrectly billing customers


Retail telecommunications provider Vodafone New Zealand Limited has been fined $350,000 for making false representations in invoices it sent to customers.

Vodafone pleaded guilty and was convicted in relation to 14 charges under the Fair Trading Act for conduct that occurred between January 2012 and December 2018.

Despite Vodafone’s contractual terms and conditions stating it would stop charging customers either 30 days after they gave notice to terminate their contracts or on an agreed date, Vodafone sent invoices to more than 29,000 customers that included charges beyond the agreed date of termination. As a result, customers across three of Vodafone’s billing systems overpaid around $285,000.

“Customers have the right to expect businesses to invoice them accurately and it is vital businesses take care to ensure their billing systems and processes are doing that,” said Competition and Consumer General Manager Antonia Horrocks.

“For a large proportion of the affected invoices in this case, Vodafone relied on staff to manually adjust them but did not take adequate steps to ensure that process was being consistently followed. As a result, tens of thousands of customers were left out of pocket.”

“All businesses need to ensure that their billing systems are robust, and that they are making accurate representations when they invoice their customers,” said Ms Horrocks.

In sentencing in the Auckland District Court Judge Thomas described Vodafone’s representations as highly careless, saying a deterrent penalty was justified as the market needs to have faith in the conduct of its major players.



“Vodafone breached the trust that all consumers should be entitled to place in suppliers’ representations,” said Judge Thomas.

Background
Last month retail telecommunications provider Spark was fined $675,000 after pleading guilty to charges relating to misrepresentations in its customer invoicing and a $100 welcome credit offer to new customers.

In 2016 Vodafone was fined $165,000 in the Auckland District Court after pleading guilty to making false price representations in breach of the Fair Trading Act. The charges related to invoices sent to customers who signed on to the ‘Red Essentials’ mobile phone plan in 2014.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Real Estate: Auckland House Price Deflation Accelerates

The decline in Auckland house prices is starting to accelerate as the number of house sales plummet, not just in Auckland but in most parts of the country. More>>

ALSO:

'Wellbeing Budget': Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech

There has been a fair amount of attention in the media here and internationally on this year’s budget – our country’s first Wellbeing Budget. Enough for me to be invited to the recent Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to talk about our approach... More>>

ALSO:

New Vodafowners: Vodafone Sale To Infratil Consortium

Vodafone Group Plc has today announced the conditional sale of 100% of Vodafone New Zealand Limited to a consortium of long-term investors, New Zealand-based Infratil, and Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management. More>>

ALSO:

Ice Cream: Global Giant Buys Tip Top From Fonterra

Froneri has today agreed to acquire the iconic New Zealand ice cream business Tip Top from global dairy co-operative Fonterra with completion expected by the end of the month. More>>

ALSO: