From 1st April 2019, most broadband and landline customers will automatically receive compensation if their provider fails them in certain key respects
It is my impression (judging by what my own IT support clients tell me) that service from internet providers has improved over recent years. It is easy to say (but true) that it certainly needed to. Nevertheless, according to Ofcom, there are currently over seven million cases a year of delayed repairs, delayed installations, or missed appointments.
So, the introduction of a new compensation scheme is welcome. It’s a voluntary scheme, so not all broadband customers will be covered – at least initially. At the beginning of the scheme, the following providers had signed up:
The following providers have indicated that they will join the scheme, but had not done so at 1st April 2019:
The code covers all residential broadband and landline installations. The providers who have already signed up, plus the others who have promised to do so, cover 95% of broadband and landline customers in the UK. The scheme also covers businesses who have signed up to residential contracts.
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.”
What service deficiencies does it cover and how much compensation is offered?
- Loss of service for more than two full days – £8 per full day that the service is not repaired.
- Missed appintments. If an engineer misses an appointment or cancels it with less than 24 hours notice, then £25 per missed appointment is payable.
- Delays in starting a new service. If a new service does not start on the iniitally agreed date then £5 per day is payable for every day of delay in starting it.
How do you claim compensation?
You don’t. It’s automatic. They will take the compensation off future bill(s).
Ofcom estimate that if the providers don’t improve, the new scheme could cost them £142 million per year in compensation. This is about nine times as much compensation as they currently pay out (£16 million per year, covering 1.1 million cases).
As with all problems relating to broadband and landline installations, compensation is not payable if the problem is found to lie in the customer’s own equipment. But suppose that an appointment is cancelled at short notice and the problem is subsequently found to lie with the client’s equipment? To my mind, it’s still the provider’s fault that the problem was not resolved when it should have been, but I can’t find a definitive answer to that one.
Mobile contracts are not covered by the new scheme. Ofcom say that few mobile problems are not resolved within 24 hours and that compensation levels for mobile problems are generally higher than for broadband and landline installations.