Tiscali and Talk Talk get Ofcom spanking

Tiscali and Talk Talk have been summoned to the communications headmaster's office for a firm telling off after breaching rules that are in place to protect consumers.

A statement from the communications watchdog stated that it had received over 1000 complaints already this year about the companies issuing bills to customers for services that were not provided.

Both Tiscali and Talk Talk have been told to fall in line by 2 December or "face further enforcement action". They could be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnovers.

One example that was named in the report was of a customer who complained to Ofcom that he had cancelled his broadband account with Tiscali UK in 2008, but was still being billed 2 years later and was contacted by a debt collection company saying he owed £353.99.

Ofcom’s director of consumer affairs, Claudio Pollack said: “Ofcom is determined to stand up for consumers and take action against companies that break the rules. Our investigation into TalkTalk and Tiscali UK found that they had billed customers for cancelled services; this is unacceptable which is why we have ordered them to clean up their act or face the consequences”.

If you've been affected by poor communication company practices (oh er, we've come over all Watchdog haven't we?) then you can contact Ofcom via Consumers.ofcom.org.uk.

Update: A Talk Talk representative contacted Pocket-lint to say:

"We identified an issue with the cancellation process for ex-Tiscali customers caused by an error on a legacy billing system. We are resolving this by migrating all ex-Tiscali customers onto one network and billing system which will allow us to process cancellations much more effectively. TalkTalk Group has co-operated fully with Ofcom's investigation and we apologise for the inconvenience caused to this limited group of former customers."