London, Dec 8 (IANS): Consumer rights champion Justin Gutmann on Friday said that he, along with law firm Charles Lyndon, have filed a class-action proceedings against Vodafone, EE, Three and O2 for allegedly overcharging customers for phones, seeking damages of more than 3 billion pounds on behalf of 4.8 million people.
The ‘Loyalty Penalty Claim’ alleged the mobile phone operators have been abusing their dominant positions in the UK mobile industry by charging a 'loyalty penalty,' in which long standing customers were overcharged for handsets beyond the end of their contractual term.
Gutmann alleged the mobile operators have overcharged on up to 28.2 million contracts and, as a result, is seeking damages of at least 3.285 billion pounds.
“If successful, someone who held a contract with just one of the mobile operators could receive as much as 1,823 pounds. Many consumers are expected to have claims against more than one mobile operator and so could receive even more compensation,” said Gutmann, a former Citizens Advice executive.
The class actions have been filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London.
“I'm launching this class action because I believe these four mobile phone companies have systematically exploited millions of loyal customers across the UK through loyalty penalties -- taking over £3 billion out of the pockets of hard working people and their families,” Gutmann said in a statement.
“These companies kept taking advantage of customers despite the financial crisis of 2008, Covid and now the cost of living crisis. It's time they were held to account,” he added.
EE called the claim "speculative", while O2 said it hadn't been contacted. Vodafone said it didn't have sufficient detail for its legal team to assess, and Three declined to comment, reports the BBC.