For years, Ofcom has threatened to make broadband firms pay automatic compensation if your broadband goes down and isn’t fixed promptly. Now, it’s finally happening.
As of 1st April 2019 (no, it’s not an April Fool), customers of seven of Britain’s biggest broadband companies are due an automatic payout if there’s a delayed repair, if an engineer appointment is missed or if the company fails to switch on your broadband on the agreed date. Here’s what you’re owed when things go wrong.
Which broadband companies are in the scheme?
The following broadband providers are in Ofcom’s automatic compensation scheme:
- Virgin Media
- Zen Internet
Why all ISPs aren’t forced to be in the scheme is a mystery (Ofcom bares its teeth about once a decade), but that covers around 95% of broadband customers in the UK.
EE and PlusNet (which, curiously, are both owned by BT) are the two notable omissions. EE has apparently agreed to start paying compensation next year, according to Ofcom, and PlusNet “has also committed to the scheme”. Although it’s seemingly not committed enough to join right away.
How much compensation are you owed when your broadband fails?
So, down to brass tacks. How much are you owed when things go wrong?
Delayed repair following loss of service – £8 per day that the service remains unrepaired
If your broadband stops working and the company doesn’t fix it within two working days, compensation starts to kick in. We can see the problem here being broadband companies blaming customer equipment for the failures, but let’s see how it pans out in practice.
Missed engineer appointments – £25 per missed appointment
One of the most annoying broadband company failures is when you take time off work to wait in for an engineer and the sod fails to turn up. £25 is not much compensation for that lost day, but it’s something. The compensation only applies if the appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Delays to the start of a new service – £5 per day of delay including the start date
Again, hardly a king’s ransom for being deprived of broadband. But if your provider fails to flick the switch on the promised day, you will get a smattering of financial compensation.
How will the compensation be paid?
You shouldn’t have to fill out any forms or apply to a provider’s compensation scheme. According to Ofcom: “If a customer loses service from 1 April, they will simply have to report the fault to their provider. They do not then need to ask for compensation, as providers will start paying out automatically if the repair takes too long.”
Ofcom says it will be monitoring the situation to make sure providers are treating customers fairly. If they’re not, expect Ofcom to act sometime around 2025.
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