Following a recent investigation, ComReg has said that Virgin Media Ireland owes refunds to more than 100,000 of its customers.
According to the telecoms regulator, Virgin Media was continuing to charge customers after they cancelled their service subscriptions. Instead of proactively refunding the customers, the company kept the funds in inactive accounts and would only issue a refund if the customer requested it.
ComReg said that during a customer’s final month on contract with Virgin Media, they would receive a bill as normal. This could include monthly recurring charges that extend beyond the cancellation date and that the company collects as part of that bill.
The watchdog found that more than 140,000 customers had paid post-cancellation charges since 1 September 2014 and that more than 107,000 have not yet been refunded.
Its investigation concluded that Virgin Media Ireland had breached sections of the Communications Regulation Act 2002. On that basis, ComReg said it would seek a High Court restraining order requiring the company to stop this practice.
Yesterday (16 December), the media firm told ComReg it would commit to refunding more than €3m to affected customers by 31 March 2021. On average, Virgin Media customers who qualify for a refund will receive €33 each.
In a statement, Virgin Media Ireland said that it takes regulatory compliance “extremely seriously”.
“Virgin Media has proactively cooperated with ComReg throughout this entire process and we note the investigation has now concluded,” it added.
Across the UK and Ireland, 14.9m homes use Virgin Media services. Virgin Media Ireland offers broadband, TV, mobile and home phone services in the country. Earlier this year, it made 1Gbps broadband speeds available on almost all of its national network, covering nearly 1m homes in Ireland.
As part of its agreement with ComReg, Virgin Media Ireland will review all other credits in inactive accounts and refund those credits to customers by the end of June next year. The company will not be permitted to keep credit on closed or inactive accounts in future.
Virgin Media has set up a dedicated helpline for customers affected by post-cancellation charges. Those seeking more information can call 1800 941 770.
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