Spark pleads guilty over operational, billing issues

Spark pleads guilty over operational, billing issues

A charge relating to a third issue was withdrawn by the Commerce Commission

Spark New Zealand has pleaded guilty to court proceedings brought against it by the country's competition regulator relating to two operational and billing issues.

A charge relating to a third issue was withdrawn by New Zealand's Commerce Commission, the telecom and digital services provider said in a statement.

Spark said the issues were system-based errors caused by "genuine mistakes with no malicious intent". Penalties are expected in due course.

The firm said it has made efforts to return amounts owed to former customers and has applied credits to the accounts of affected customers.

The issues that Spark pleaded guilty to trace back to 2016 and relate to the implementation of a "welcome credit" for some fibre broadband customers and billing issues for customers that exited Spark.

The company reiterated that the proceedings were not expected to have a significant impact on its financial position.

As reported by Reseller News, the Commerce Commission first announced its intention to file court proceedings against Spark under the Fair Trading Act in early July.

According to the watchdog, the action at the time was in relation to three separate historical operational and billing issues.

Specifically, these were: an equipment fault in 2015 that affected data billing for a small percentage of customers; incorrect implementation of a "welcome credit" when joining Spark for some fibre broadband customers during 2016; and a billing implementation issue relating to a 30-day notice period when customers left Spark.

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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