Vodafone have been fined £4.6m for mis-selling, inaccurate billing and poor treatment of customer complaints - the biggest fine ever enforced on a telecoms network provider.
Following an 18-month investigation by industry controller Ofcom, the organization was fined £3.7m for neglecting to credit the records of 10,452 customers' pay-as-you-go accounts after they paid to top up their mobiles.
The affected customers all in all lost £150,000 over a 17-month time frame, Ofcom said.
Ofcom also discovered Vodafone neglected to follow Ofcom rules on taking care of customer grievances, resulting in a fine of £925,000.
Its investigation uncovered that customer service agents lacked "sufficiently clear guidance on what constituted a complaint" and did not deal with these cases in an appropriate, fair or timely manner.
Vodafone additionally neglected to inform customers of their entitlement to take an unresolved complaint to a third-party resolution scheme after eight weeks, Ofcom said.
"We profoundly regret these system and process failures," the telecoms giant said. "We are totally focused on serving our customers: everyone who works for us is expected to do their utmost to meet our customers' needs, and act rapidly and proficiently if something goes wrong.
"It is clear from Ofcom's discoveries that we didn't do that regularly enough or well enough on a number of events. We offer our profound apologies to anyone affected by these errors."
Ofcom fined Vodafone for Mis-selling and poor complaints procedures
The cash fine, which must be paid to Ofcom inside 20 working days, will be passed on to the Treasury. Some have questioned what will happen to this vast sum.
Recent information from Ofcom showed that Vodafone, which has 20m mobile customers in the UK, has got the most complaints of any mobile administrator per 10,000 clients.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom consumer group director, said: "Vodafone's failings were serious and unacceptable, and these fines send a clear warning to all telecoms organizations.
The fine today is the greatest fine forced by Ofcom on the business, enforcing a £3m fine on TalkTalk and Tiscali in 2011 for charging issues.
Since 2013, Ofcom has examined three mobile networks: EE, Three and Vodafone. EE was given the greatest fine in July a year ago, £1m, following a 17-month examination uncovered the company had neglected to tell customers they could refer their protests to an independent dispute-resolution body.
AT A GLANCE | How to complain about your Mobile Network Operator
In the event that you have a complaint about a mobile, broadband, phone or TV provider then we disclose how to go about it.
Firstly, complain to the organization.
In the event that they can't understand the issue then ask them for a 'deadlock letter' so you can refer the complaint to an independent resolution service.
Then again, if more than eight weeks has passed you can contact either CISAS or the Ombudsman Services: Communications to determine your issue.
On the other hand, you could utilize a site like Resolver or A Spokesman Said which will help you resolve the issue by giving template letters and consumer guidance.
If you would like to talk to one of our team to get any point clarifying please do not hesitate to contact us. Call us now on 0800 692 7000 or email email@example.com so we can call you back.