A judge has convicted Eircom and imposed €16,500 in fines after hearing that a convent nursing home for elderly nuns was overcharged and left without a phone service for weeks.
Eircom Ltd, trading as Eir, was prosecuted after a complaint was made to industry watchdog ComReg. The case came before Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court yesterday.
The company pleaded guilty to four counts under the Communication Regulations Act for providing a service that was not requested and three other charges under European Community's regulations for failing to transfer the nursing home's phone number between May and August last year.
Judge Brennan noted that ComReg received a complaint from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood nursing home in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
It looks after 27 nuns, aged from their seventies to their nineties, and it also has two other houses caring for seven other elderly nuns.
Miriam Kilraine, compliance manager with ComReg, said the nuns' retirement home had tried to transfer to Eircom from another service provider.
The move should have been seamless and done within a few days but after the home was disconnected from their previous phone company, it was left without a service for three weeks.
Eircom incorrectly told the nursing home they could not keep their original phone number. The nursing home was also told it needed a new line which was installed at a cost of €1,200.
Judge Brennan noted the significant impact on the activities of the nursing home and the efforts required to resolve the problem.
The judge convicted Eircom and imposed fines amounting to €16,500, which must be paid within two months.