Hundreds of customer lines snatched by Telefonica leaving some paying twice for same internet service
Olive Press exclusive
FURIOUS broadband users have launched a stinging attack on Spain’s leading telecommunications company after being charged twice for the same service.
They are demanding an explanation from Telefonica after it started charging for a fast-track ADSL service they are already paying for with another company.
Insisting they have never been offered – nor signed – for a broadband contract with Telefonica, they have been left angered they are now being charged.
“It is a complete joke,” said Dr Bob Brotherton, who lives in Palenciana, Córdoba. “I had a perfectly good service through a company called Midas and now I am paying another 40 euros to Telefonica for the same thing.”
The problem arose when the retired university professor signed up with telephone service provider Midas in June this year.
Cancelling his contract with Telefonica, he saved hundreds of euros a year with the company’s Telesurf 100 package, which costs just 40 euros a month.
Besides including most calls, the service also came with unlimited broadband internet access via a modem supplied by Midas.
“It worked fine for five months,” explained Brotherton, 51, who moved to Spain with his wife Penny three years ago.
“My previous Telefonica bills of around 100 euros had been cut down considerably and I had the internet service as part of the bargain.”
However two months ago, he noticed Telefonica were also charging him 39 euros a month for an ADSL package on top of the 14-euro line rental fee he had continued to pay.
He discovered his neighbour was also having the same problem.
But when he contacted Telefonica to find out what was going on, he was told he had a contract with the company to provide the service.
“They told me it was their line and there was no way I could get a refund,” said the former tourism lecturer at Manchester University.
“They also said if I cancelled the service I would not be able to get broadband on my line and if I cancel everything then will not have a line at all.”
In an apparent Catch-22 situation, he is also unable to cancel with Midas as he signed a 12-month contract.
Luckily, Midas has agreed to refund any monies he pays to Telefonica throughout the duration of his contract.
A spokeswoman for the company told the Olive Press that the problem emerged when a third party company, which provides Midas with lines, fell out with Telefonica.
“It led to Telefonica simply taking over the lines of 300 of our customers without informing us,” she said.
“The next thing we knew, we were receiving calls of complaint from upset clients.”
Fortunately, Midas was able to migrate most of the lines to a new third party provider.
“However, we know of a few who have to stay with Telefonica. Dr Brotherton is one of them. We apologise to him and will be refunding all the money.
“I have quite a few problems with Telefonica. It is quite a difficult company.”
Telefonica refused to comment.
Meanwhile, the telecommunications giant has been hit with a record fine for unfairly squeezing rivals.
European Union regulators claim the company set wholesale internet prices too high to allow rivals to turn a profit.
Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes explained the 152 million-euro penalty reflected the fact Telefonica knew it was breaking EU rules.
“Telefonica’s price structures raised its competitors’ costs, restricted competition and made consumers pay the price,” she said.
Telefonica denied the charge and has appealed the ruling.
Have you been a victim of Telefonica’s unfair pricing? Contact [email protected]