Eir hit with €2.45m fine for overcharging customers

17 May 2023

A van with the Eir logo in 2015. Image: William Murphy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

ComReg concluded that Eir had overcharged customers in the past, may be overcharging presently and is ‘likely to overcharge customers in the future’.

Eir’s parent company has been ordered to pay €2.45m and make changes to its billing practices, as a penalty for overcharging an estimated 76,000 customers.

The penalty was issued by the Commission for Communications Regulation – known as ComReg – following a series of investigations into the telecoms company.

The regulator concluded that Eir had overcharged customers in the past, may be overcharging customers currently and is “likely to overcharge customers in the future”. ComReg had applied to the High Court for a restraining order to stop Eir from overcharging.

The two organisations have now settled the proceedings, with Eir agreeing to pay the €2.45m fine and to implement “backward-looking measures” to identify and refund customers who have been overcharged historically.

ComReg estimates that roughly €6.7m in refunds may be owed to the affected customers. Eir has begun this process but it will “take some time to complete”, according to the regulator.

The affected customers include those who were incorrectly charged due to a “broken bundle”, those whose requests to cease services was not processed by Eir and those who faced “early cease charges” despite being permitted to cancel without penalty.

The settlement also requires Eir to implement “forward-looking measures” to improve its current billing processes.

ComReg said these measures include system upgrades, such as the completion of a new billing system. Eir will also begin proactively reviewing credits and disputes that “could identify potential billing issues not already addressed”.

Eir has also agreed to appoint an independent auditor to review the effectiveness and implementation of these measures. The telecoms company aims to have these measures fully implemented by the end of 2023 “at the latest”, according to ComReg.

ComReg has taken multiple enforcement actions against Eir over the years. The regulator said Eir was convicted in 2015, 2017 and 2018 of offences that total 26 breaches related to overcharging.

At the end of 2018, Eir agreed to pay a €3m fine to settle a ComReg case, which alleged Eir had favoured its own retail division when it came to granting access and repairing lines.

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A van with the Eir logo in 2015. Image: William Murphy via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic