THREE IRELAND HAS been fined €575,000 for the way it brought in changes to customer contracts earlier this year.
In March, Three notified all its customers of changes to the terms and conditions of its contracts that would take effect on in April. The changes affected roughly 1.3 million customers.
The proposed contract changes involved amendments to its terms and conditions ahead of the abolition of EU roaming charges, and an increase of as much as €5 a month for both pre-paid and pay-as-you-go customers.
Three’s notification stated that customers who wished to cancel their contract could call a 1800 number.
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) said it received a “significant volume” of complaints from Three customers about the proposed change.
The majority of complainants said they were unable to gain access to the notified 1800 number.
Following a review of the notifications issued by Three, ComReg warned the company that it did not comply with its obligations for carrying out changes to its terms and conditions.
After the warning was issued by ComReg, Three said it would attempt remediate the breaches.
Three was also ordered at the time by ComReg to re-notifiy customers of their right to withdraw from their contract without penalty after the contract changes were pushed through by the telecoms firm.
Today ComReg has announced that Three Ireland has been fined €575,000 after it failed to properly advise its customers about the nature of the contract changes proposed. The fine was the largest retail penalty ever issued by ComReg.
ComReg added that the telecoms provider failed to facilitate customers’ right to cancel their contracts without penalty.
The watchdog also stated that Three’s conditions for contract termination acted as a disincentive for customers.
Three has committed to refund customers that were charged a fee for cancelling their contract early.