New Zealand ComCom lays charges against Vocus subsidiaries

Telecommunications providers face charges for billing customers after contracts were terminated.

Three New Zealand-based Vocus subsidiaries currently face charges for allegedly making false representations in invoices that were sent to their customers. 

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has laid 13 charges against retail telecommunications providers CallPlus Services, Flip Services, and Orcon. 

The commission alleges the companies had continued to invoice customers after their contracts had finished. These invoices were sent from 2 January 2012 to 1 March 2018. 

The commission said the companies "misrepresented their rights to payments because their customers only owed payment for the services provided prior to the agreed termination date". 

The charges have been filed to the Auckland District Court and will be called on 23 July 2019.

Last week, the Commerce Commission granted clearance for infrastructure investment company Infratil to acquire up to 50% of the shares in Vodafone New Zealand, a deal worth NZ$3.4 billion.  

Meanwhile, Vocus New Zealand became one of three independent divisions as part of Vocus' three-year turnaround strategy, after two potential buyers walked away from acquiring the telco last month.

The other two divisions are now known as Vocus Network Services and Vocus Retail, with the company's chief executive of enterprise and government Andrew Wildblood saying in July that Vocus Network Services would be its core business. 

Wildblood also said at the time that Vocus had "underinvested the past two years", but the turnaround strategy would simplify around 90 products and remove around 50 products to improve customer experience.   

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