Vodafone has been spared a criminal conviction after customers with complaints were "given the runaround".

The telecom firm was ordered by Judge Anthony Halpin last month to pay €10,000 in prosecution costs and to donate the same amount to charity.

He noted today that the company had complied, and he struck out the case at Dublin District Court.

The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) prosecuted Vodafone after it looked into several customer complaints in 2020.

The company entered guilty pleas to seven sample charges.

ComReg compliance manager Miriam Kilraine had told the court some Vodafone customers were "given the runaround" when they attempted to log complaints.

The telecom company failed to deal with them as required under a code of practice, stalling the process.

In 2020 she received a high number of calls from Vodafone customers unable to or who found it difficult to log a complaint.

Supervisors were not available or did not phone customers back.

ComReg took a sample of cases from May to November 2020 involving seven customers.

They had contacted Vodafone with various complaints on multiple occasions.

Vodafone had prior convictions resulting in fines arising from prosecutions by ComReg and the Data Protection Commission.

At the hearing on September 14, Judge Halpin noted the firm's guilty plea, cooperation and an agreement to contribute €10,000 to ComReg's costs.

He accepted Vodafone allocated significant resources to ensure these issues did not arise again.

Complaints have dropped, and processes have been updated, Vodafone’s solicitor had told the court. He also submitted that the offences were on the lower end of the spectrum.

The number of complaints was minuscule given the firm's number of customers, the defence said.

Comreg brought the prosecution under Regulations 27(1) and 27(2) of the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services)(Universal Service and Users' Rights) Regulations 2011.