UK: Auto compensation for faulty broadband

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Broadband and landline customers in the UK will, from today, get money back from their providers when things go wrong, without having to do anything.

Previously, only around one in seven broadband or landline customers who suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments have received compensation from their provider; and even then, only in small amounts.

So media regulator Ofcom has intervened to ensure fairness for customers, while giving companies a strong incentive to avoid delays occurring in the first place.

The UK’s largest broadband and landline providers have agreed to compensate customers when they experience these delays, without having to ask.

BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet had already signed up to the scheme. Ofcom has now announced that Hyperoptic and Vodafone have also agreed to the new terms, and will start paying compensation automatically later this year. Together, the firms that have committed account for more than 95 per cent  of broadband and landline customers in the UK.

The new scheme could see customers benefit from £142 million in payments – around nine times the amount they receive today. As well as consumers, it will benefit the many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who choose residential landline and broadband services.

Under the terms of the agreement, if an engineer does not arrive on schedule, or cancels within 24 hours, the compensation will be £25. If a service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, customers will be entitled to £8 a day in compensation. There will also be £5-per-day offered for new services not starting on time.

Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “We think it’s unacceptable that people should be kept waiting for a new line, or a fault to be fixed. These new protections mean phone and broadband firms will want to avoid problems occurring in the first place. But if they fall short, customers must be treated fairly and given money back, without having to ask for it. We welcome the companies’ commitment to this scheme, which acts as a strong incentive to improve service for customers.”

Ofcom will carefully monitor companies’ compliance with the compensation scheme, and report on how it is working next year. If customers are not being treated fairly, we will step in and take action.


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