Behold, another example of the tendency of large companies with ample resources to blame the computer in the corner when things go wrong.

After UK regulator Ofcom stepped in, broadband company TalkTalk has decided to blame “an error on a legacy billing system” for pursuing at least 1,000 customers for charges after they had legitimately cancelled their services.

Many of these individuals were pursued by debt-collection agencies and an unknown number might have had their credit ratings affected by this. And by all accounts this was not a short-term glitch but in some cases went on for years.

Galling then to hear the company trot out the same Orwellian ‘it’s the technology, not us’ excuses for failures that lie within its own incompetent administration of these accounts.

It’s one thing to make a mistake, quite another to allow poor administration to get to the stage where the industry regulator has to threaten fines in order to resolve the issue.

Here’s an alternative analysis: it was not the billing system that made a mess of these accounts it was, in fact, TalkTalk, and the employees responsible for these systems. Or perhaps the systems administer themselves.

Even the company’s apology was grudging:

“TalkTalk Group has co-operated fully with Ofcom's investigation and we apologise for the inconvenience caused to this limited group of former customers,” they were reported to have told various media sources.

Far from threatening fines, the toothless Ofcom needs to start setting an example by dishing out some tough love. Until they do, the ‘billing systems’ will continue, ridiculously, to catch the blame.