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Post Office have accepted the fine and liability for the rule breach
Ofcom has hit the Post Office with a fine of £175,000 following a breach of rules around its treatment of customers.
The rule in question is the right for disabled people to access to comparable phone call services as non-disabled people.
However during a five year period between August 2013 and November 2018, the Post Office broke this rule after failing to provide a special price scheme for calls made by disabled customers that needed to use relay services. This led to customers being charged unfairly.
Relay services help customers with speech and hearing difficulties to communicate over the phone, through text-to-speech and speech-to-text translation services.
A special price scheme however would have compensated customers using these relay services, for any additional time taken to make these phone calls.
The duration of which Post Office broke this rule contributed to this breach being more serious according to Ofcom.
The fine includes a 30 per cent discount because the Post Office admitted liability and agreed to the settlement, with any money raised from the fine going to the HM Treasury.
In response to the ruling, Post Office director of telecoms Meredith Sharples, said:
“The Post Office apologises to any of our customers who made text relay calls using our service and did not receive the discount that they were entitled to. Up to 126 customers a year were affected and where possible we have refunded customers the full cost of any calls made. We now no longer apply any charge to calls made using this service.
“The Post Office has always provided text relay services and we recognise the important role they play for anyone who may have hearing or speech impediments. We reported this over charging matter to Ofcom in January 2019 and have co-operated fully with their investigation.
“We have already acted upon the remedial steps required by Ofcom and have put in place robust processes to ensure this kind of error does not happen again, by significantly increasing our Telecoms Regulation and Compliance teams.”