Customers of the five main UK broadband providers will have compensation paid into their accounts automatically if their Internet service is offline for more than two days, an installation is delayed or engineers fail to show up.
Regulator Ofcom says five million Britons face broadband and landline outages every year, as well as a million delayed installations and 250,000 missed appointments. To reduce such problems, Ofcom threatened to set up its own compensation scheme, sparking action by ISPs to set up a voluntary version that includes automatic payouts.
How will it affect you?
So far, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen have signed up to the automatic compensation scheme. Vodafone and Hyperoptic will follow later this year, and EE says it will do so next year. Plusnet also confirmed that it will join but hasn’t said when.
If you’re a customer of one of those ISPs – which will be most broadband users in the
UK – you should receive automatic compensation when you experience problems. You’ll get £5 a day if your new service doesn’t start when promised, £8 a day for outages that aren’t fixed for more than two working days, and £25 if an engineer doesn’t show up when scheduled or cancels within a day of an appointment.
What do we think?
It’s certainly about time ISPs introduced automatic compensation. One of the most frustrating aspects of moving house is sorting out broadband, and anyone who has a recurring fault knows the pain of trying to get an engineer to show up when scheduled.
Mistakes happen, as do delays, but customers shouldn’t be the ones to suffer. These payouts should help encourage ISPs to improve their customer service, and soften the blow for customers when repairs and installations don’t go to plan. Any smaller ISPs that haven’t signed up yet should follow suit soon.