EE and BT mobile phone shop

BT fined £2.8m over contract failures for 1.1m EE and Plusnet customers

Telecoms watchdog fines BT £2.8m after failing to provide more than a million customers with clear and simple contract information

BT has been fined £2.8 million by the industry watchdog after EE and Plusnet failed to provide clear and simple contract information to more than a million customers before they signed up to a new deal.

Ofcom said that since June 2022, BT’s EE and Plusnet businesses made more than 1.3 million sales without providing customers with a contract summary and information documents, which affected at least 1.1 million customers.

This meant that BT broke the regulator’s consumer protection rules, which came into effect in 2022 and are designed to ensure customers get clear, comparable information about the services they are considering buying.

Ofcom said the fine ‘reflects the seriousness of this breach’.

Alex Neil, co-founder of Consumer Voice, said:

‘BT has shown a blatant disregard of rules brought in to protect consumers and help ensure they understand what they are buying. It is only right they pay a penalty and reimburse customers who were wrongly charged exit fees. 

‘But this action today doesn’t help people who wanted to leave BT but didn’t because they were threatened with an exit fee.’ 

Court decision due following a compensation claim against BT 

Today’s fine comes as we wait for a court decision on compensation following the end of the class action trial seeking £1.3 billion in compensation over claims the telecoms group overcharged for landline services

More than 3 million BT customers could receive up to £400 each. Register with Consumer Voice to stay updated on this legal action.

BT ‘deliberately’ broke new rules

Ofcom brought in the rules in June 2022 and said BT had assured it that the group was confident the deadline would be met.

But the watchdog said its investigation found that, from January 2022, BT was aware that some of its sales would not meet the deadline.

Ofcom said: ‘In some cases, BT deliberately chose not to comply with the rules on time.

‘Other providers dedicated the resource required to meet the implementation deadline for these new rules, and BT is likely to have saved costs by not doing so.’

It said BT got in contact with affected customers last summer and offered them the chance to request information or cancel their contract without charge.

But it added that some customers had already left BT before the end of their contract and may have been wrongly charged a so-called exit fee.

Ofcom said: ‘Our rules are clear that if the required contract summary and contract information is not given, the contract is not binding on customers.

‘As a result, an early exit fee should not have been payable by these customers.’

What BT customers can expect from Ofcom

As well as the £2.8 million fine, BT must also:

  • Find and reimburse, within five months, any customers who were charged for leaving before the end of their contract period
  • Contact remaining customers, within three month, who are still with BT and offer them the right to cancel without charge
  • Amend all its sales processes within three months to ensure they meet the rules.

So you should be contacted by BT over the coming months with an an explanation of the information you should have been entitled to.

Neill added: ‘If you have been wrongly charged an exit fee, look out for communication from BT and be ready to take action.’

‘Unacceptable’ for BT to ignore new rules to make comparing deals easy 

Ian Strawhorne, Ofcom enforcement director, said: ‘For people to take advantage of the competitive telecoms market here in the UK, they must be able to shop around with confidence.

‘When we strengthened our rules to make it easier for consumers to compare deals, we gave providers a strict timeline by which to implement them.

‘It’s unacceptable that BT couldn’t get its act together in time, and the company must now pay a penalty for its failings.’

A BT spokesman said: ‘We’re sorry that some of our pre-contract information and contract summary documents were not available to some of our customers in a timely manner.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused and have taken steps to proactively contact affected customers and arrange for them to receive the information and be refunded where applicable.’

Related claims

Man on landline in BT compensation claim

BT Landline

BT sued for up to £1.3 billion in a claim representing 3.7m customers who were overcharged. Sign up to stay updated if you are or have been a BT landline customer.



EE is accused of overcharging customer on mobile phone contracts and could owe customers up to £1,101 per contract. Sign up to stay updated.



O2 is accused of overcharging customer on mobile phone contracts and could owe customers up to £1,178 per contract. Sign up to stay updated.