Broadband users in the United Kingdom to get automatic compensation for poor service

Gladys Abbott
November 11, 2017

BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have all agreed to the regulator's proposals, which could see consumers in line for £142m in compensation, nine times more than the ISPs pay out under the current system, which requires consumers to proactively claim money back. If a service goes down for longer than this, then customers will receive £8 credit per day until it is fixed. "It's great news for broadband and landline customers". Assuming the fully-laden cost of an engineer including tools and transport is mourned £75,000, he calculated an engineer could mist 12 appointments a day and it would still be cheaper than hiring the extra resources to improves services.

Users connected through BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet - which Ofcom says is around 90 per cent of the United Kingdom population - are set to benefit, with Ofcom expecting Plusnet and EE to join as well. £25 is payable for a missed appointment of a cancellation within 24 hours.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's consumer group director, says: "Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation".

Due to the complexities of launching the first ever automatic compensation system significant changes to providers' billing systems, online accounts and call centres will need to take place, therefore Ofcom has put in place a15-month implementation period before it comes into effect to ensure a smooth introduction.

Ofcom's research showed that engineers fail to turn up to around 250,000 appointments a year and about 1.3 million (mln) people are affected by late installations.

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She said that under the new rules, "people will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service".

"For all consumers to get what they're entitled to, it's vital that all providers play fair and sign up to this scheme". Gillian Guy, chief executive of the organisation, said Citizens Advice will be "looking closely" at Ofcom's full review of the scheme after 12 months to ensure it works for consumers.

In addition to residential customers the new plans are also set to benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as over a third choose to residential landline and broadband services.

The automatic compensation scheme is set to come into force in 2019.

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