Wednesday 22nd August 2018
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The Commerce Commission has laid 10 charges against Vodafone New Zealand after it charged some broadband customers who were terminating their accounts for longer than it should have.
The regulator filed the charges, spanning Jan 2012 to Jan 2017, in the Auckland District Court, alleging Vodafone, having agreed with a customer to terminate their service part-way through the next month, then sent an invoice that included charges for the entire next monthly billing period.
"As such, the commission alleges that Vodafone misrepresented its right to payment because its customers only owed payment for the services provided prior to the agreed termination date," the commission said. "The commission cannot comment further while this case is before the court."
Vodafone said in a statement that it was disappointed by the court action as the billing errors were "due to a combination of unintentional system and human errors which Vodafone has since resolved."
"We have had an ongoing dialogue with the Commission throughout their investigation, and they have acknowledged our cooperation," chief executive Russell Stanners said. "We launched an extensive and pro-active initiative to put things right by tracking down customers, refunding credits and donating the balance to charity.
"We have made process and technical changes to avoid repeats of this issue. Taking all of this into account, we hoped the Commerce Commission would opt for one of its other enforcement tools, rather than costly court proceedings," Stanners said.
Vodafone said it has refunded $55,896.71 to 2,001 current and former customers, and donated the outstanding balance owed to 13,350 customers who hadn't claimed their refund by June 1 - $86,226.77 - to charity. Those customers can still claim back their money by contacting Vodafone.
The issue is due to be heard in the court on Sept 11.
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