VODAFONE is to cough almost €2m in refunds after overcharging more than 50,000 customers who rang premium phone lines.
The company has admitted that it has been overcharging for a period of more than three years -- with some customers owed more than €4,000.
Vodafone has now been slapped with a hefty fine of €951,000 by the regulator Comreg as a result of the grave error.
The phone operator has revealed that customers who have been calling premium phone services -- such as so-called 'sex lines' and 'psychic services' -- are entitled to refunds.
However thousands more customers who accessed the premium services may not receive any refund whatsoever -- as the relevant records only date back to 2010.
Some of the refunds are as small as €50, with others owed more than €4,000.
Some 70 individual customers were overcharged by up to €500.
The large-scale billing error was revealed after the company carried out an internal audit.
A spokesperson announced that the majority of the overcharged calls were connected with phone calling cards which require customers to dial international access codes.