Your Phone Company is Looking Out for the Pennies

If your telephone bill was charged a couple of cents more, you wouldn’t even notice. It doesn’t really mean much to the customer, but on the company’s side it means millions. This was the case with the “mailbox”, when mobile operators earned millions and then they were punished with serious fines.

“It was about services which the consumers did not actually use – as was the mailbox. Even though these unjustified payments did not include high amounts from the individual perspective (about 6 denars per consumer), at a company level it meant a lot of money,” says Valentina Nikolova – leader of a sector within the Commission for Competition Protection.

Last year T-Mobile Macedonia was fined with 800,000 Euros by the Commission for the mailbox service which was directly harming the consumers. This year, another mobile operator, ONE Telecommunication Services was also fined with 250,000 Euros for the same mistake.

Due to a manipulative expense which damaged the consumers, EVN Macedonia was fined with about 500,000 Euros and almost 1 million Euros was the fine that Macedonian Telecom had to pay for the abuse of its dominant position in the market whereupon it charged the consumers from 6.25 to 50 denars for manipulative expenses depending of the type of service.

Meri Jordanovska checked the phone bills and published the investigation in FOKUS, a weekly newspaper in Macedonia, on December 9, 2011.

Read the original articles (part 1) (part 2)

Read the English translation