TalkTalk customers trying to change provider in wake of major cyber attack ‘charged up to £250 penalty fee’

Consumer watchdog Which? has condemned the charges

Adam Withnall
Sunday 25 October 2015 18:39 GMT

Concerned TalkTalk customers are reportedly being charged hundreds of pounds to cancel their contracts with the company in the wake of the cyberattack on its website.

The “significant and sustained” hack raised questions over how well the telecoms giant protected customers’ personal data, and information officials have criticised the speed with which the company responded to the attack.

But while some affected TalkTalk users said they wanted to switch provider as a result, there have been reports the company is charging people up to £250 to do so.

Dawn Palmer, 50, told the Mail on Sunday she had found the whole experience “appalling”.

“They said my account doesn’t run out until July 2016 so I’d have to pay an early-leavers’ penalty,” she said.

Consumer watchdog Which? said TalkTalk customers affected by the breach should not have to pay a penalty fee to break their contract.

Richard Lloyd, executive director, said: “We expect that any affected TalkTalk customers who want to leave their contract should be able to do so without penalty.

“Nobody should lose out as a result of this breach, so TalkTalk should also look at what more it needs to do for its customers, including appropriate compensation for those affected. It's important people are treated fairly.”

Dido Harding said it was “too early” to start addressing the issue of whether customers should be compensated for any losses relating to the online breach.

In a statement on Saturday, the company said the amount of useful financial information accessed by hackers was “materially lower than initially believed”.

Ms Harding said the greatest threat to customers remained from fraudsters contacting them in the wake of the hack.

She said: “TalkTalk will never call you and ask you over the phone to give your personal financial information, we will never call you out of the blue and ask you to give us access to your computer.

"Those are criminals doing that and we all need to make sure that we don't let them win.”

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