Telcos forced to pay for giving you crap services

Jon Howard
November 11, 2017

United Kingdom regulator Ofcom has confirmed that broadband and landline customers will now get automatic compensation from their providers for missed appointments, slow repairs and delayed installations without having to file a claim.

Broadband users in the United Kingdom who suffer from network faults, poor service and outages will be compensated to the tune of £8 a day from 2019. Compensation will be paid at a rate of £8 per calendar day that the service is not repaired, after two full working days. Now, it several major ISPs, including BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, have agreed to be part of this new scheme.

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.

The regulator also expects EE and Plusnet to join the scheme in due course.

But given the current amount of compensation paid is just £16 million a year, it should still be a real boost for broadband and home phone users.

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"Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation", said Lindsey Fussell, director of Ofcom's Consumer Group. As a sweetener, they will have 15 months to make the necessary changes to call centres, billing systems and online accounts. The regulator says it will monitor the scheme and review it a year after implementation to make sure it is working for customers otherwise it will step in.

"So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don't happen on time, or an engineer doesn't turn up". A third of SMBs choose residential broadband services but only half knew if they were entitled to compensation.

They will also get £25 for an engineer missing an appointment or cancelling with less than 24 hours' notice, and £5 for each calendar day without service after the day they were promised a provider would start that service.

This automatic compensation scheme for ISPs/telecom providers will take a while to get up and running though. The others include: ensuring lower charges for vulnerable landline customers, better information on broadband speeds before entering a contract, detailed information to show customer how different providers perform and fining companies for poor behaviour.

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