Carphone Warehouse has been fined £29.1m by regulators for mis-selling the mobile phone insurance product Geek Squad.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched an investigation after whistleblowers alerted the authorities to bad practices.
It found staff were poorly trained to treat customers fairly between 2008 and 2015 – and even urged to recommend the product to people who already had cover through home insurance and other policies.
Carphone Warehouse made Geek Squad sales worth almost £445m over the period.
The FCA found staff were trained in so-called spin selling, where the focus was on persuading customers to purchase Geek Squad and also in how to handle customer objections.
Complaints were not properly handled.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Carphone Warehouse and its staff persuaded customers to purchase the Geek Squad product which in some cases had little to no value because the customer already had insurance cover.
“The high level of cancellations should have been a clear indicator to the management of mis-selling.”
“Without whistleblowers coming forward these practices may never have come to light.”
The penalty represents further embarrassment for parent firm Dixons Carphone after it revealed last year a massive data breach affecting the records of millions of its customers.
The company said on Wednesday that it had retrained staff and carried out two voluntary customer redress programmes in response to the mis-selling.
Chief executive Alex Baldock said: “We’re obviously disappointed that Carphone Warehouse fell short in the past.
“But we’re a very different business today; as the FCA acknowledges, we’ve made significant improvements since 2015.
“We’re committed to stay on that trajectory, and to make sure all customers enjoy the right technology products and services for them.”
(c) Sky News 2019: Carphone Warehouse fined £29m for Geek Squad mis-selling