Author Lauren Howells

Customers who experience poor levels of service from their broadband and landline supplier are set to receive a share of £142 million in payouts from providers, under Ofcom’s new automatic compensation scheme.

The regulator’s plans, which it says will benefit millions, mean that people will be compensated by providers when things go wrong, without having to ask.

Broadband Customers can expect £25 per missed engineer appointment

Ofcom says that under the scheme, customers can expect £25 if an engineer does not turn up for a scheduled appointment or an appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice. Those whose service has broken and is still not “fully fixed” after two full working days, can expect to receive £8 for each calendar day that the service is not repaired.

Additionally, if the service fails to begin on the start date a customer is promised, providers will pay out £5 per calendar day of the delay, including the missed start date.

“People will get the money they deserve”

Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, Lindsey Fussell, said:

“Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation.

“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. People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

Ofcom says that BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet, who together serve around 90% of UK broadband and landline customers, have agreed to introduce the automatic compensation scheme. It is understood that EE and Plusnet have also indicated that they will join the scheme.

Compensation currently paid out in around 1 in 7 cases

At the moment, compensation is paid out in only around 15% of cases when broadband or landline customers have experienced delayed installations, slow repairs or missed engineer appointments. It’s estimated that people currently receive an average of £3.69 per day for the loss of service and £2.39 per day for delayed installations.

15-month implementation period

Ofcom says that there will be a 15-month implementation period, as the “complex” scheme requires “significant changes” to suppliers’ billing systems, call centres and online accounts.

Which? Managing Director of Home Services, Alex Neill, said:

“We are pleased that compensation for poor broadband is going to become automatic, as it is now such an essential part of all of our everyday lives.

“For all consumers to get what they’re entitled to, it’s vital that all providers play fair and sign up to this scheme.”

Ofcom will “closely monitor” the scheme

Ofcom says that it will “closely monitor” the scheme and promises to review it one year after it is implemented, to ensure that it is working for consumers. If not, the regulator says that it will “step in”.