/ Home & Energy

Have you been left hanging by an appointment no-show?

Appointment

You’ve arranged to work from home or taken the day off, popped the kettle on and are ready to go for 9am when the smart meter installer promised to come round. They’ve agreed to turn up within a time slot but as that window closes, your rage rises. Is this a familiar story?

All that waiting around for nothing! And what’s more annoying is that you now have to arrange it all again.

Missed appointments

If the smart meter installer, builder, plumber or electrician were a gas or broadband engineer, at the very least you could pocket some compensation for the hassle.

But as it stands, only two regulators make companies cough up for the inconvenience caused by missed appointments.

Under Ofgem’s Guaranteed Standards, customers must be paid £30 whenever a meter reader missed their four-hour time slot. And then if the energy company doesn’t pay up in 10 days, you can claim an extra £30.

And, thanks to the little-known rules, last year British Gas had to pay up £1.1m to about 12,000 customers for missing appointments then failing to pay compensation for doing so.

Similar payouts will apply if your broadband engineer doesn’t turn up in time. Back in November, we celebrated the great news with you and our broadband campaign supporters that finally the regulator agreed to introduce compensation rules for shoddy broadband.

Ofcom agreed that it’s frustrating enough to deal with your broadband going wrong, without ‘having to fight tooth and nail’ to get it repaired. The changes have a 15 month implementation period, so the providers who signed up have until February 2019 to comply. The regulator announced five of the biggest broadband providers – BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin and Zen Internet – agreed to new compensation requirements.

Waiting games

A colleague recently aired her frustrations about her experience with a water meter installer – she’d arranged to work from home the first time the installer promised to sort their water meter, but they failed to appear. Then after arranging the second appointment, the person came and went without so much of a call so as it turns out she could have been in the office the whole time.

Sounds like a whole lot of hassle for no reason.

Another workmate also suffered at the handy hands of smart meter installers. Last summer she agreed to a four-hour time slot with her energy supplier for installation and started to lose hope as the deadline started to close.

After waiting for hours, the engineers finally turned up with 15 minutes to spare then took about 45 minutes to install it – all up costing her about four hours of her time. She told me a more realistic time slot would have been helpful and that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Your view

In my perfect world, I’d be able to track my appointment on an app like a food delivery so I’d know roughly how long I had to tidy the flat and pop the kettle on…

Have you had someone failed to show for an appointment? Do you mind waiting around or do you find it annoying? Do you think you should be compensated for missed appointments?

Comments

You’ve hit my weak spot I absolutely detest no shows or very late arrivals why ? because I am, one of the most conscientious people on this planet when dating I arrived early, when an appointment is made with a business I am early , I dont like waiting in queues so arrive very early . If I promise somebody I will be there I will trudge through a storm to get there on time , so ,as you can guess I have little or no patience for people who are opposite to me in this regard , saying “I slept in ” etc doesn’t cut it with me so if a workman is calling from a big utility/firm etc to do some repair etc and doesn’t show up you can say I get a bit “heated ” on the phone . I know its a personality defect with me but I take people at their word and if they “let me down ” I find it very hard to trust them or their firm.

I once put to an American my curiosity as to why so many services in the USA worked more effectively/ were delivered more promptly/ were provided to higher quality standards .He believed that this was a consequence of a cultural tendency to complain like hell about everything all the time. So maybe all you are doing is setting us a fine example of how to do it right.

Please provide a link to the “little known rules”.

There is information n this document: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/standards

I don’t have a problem if there is a genuine problem and an organisation does its best in the circumstances. Amelia’s introduction reminds me about my appointment to have my smart meters replaced last year. I received an apologetic phone call to say that the ‘engineer had rung in sick’ and that it would be necessary to rearrange the appointment. The arrangements were made and the job was done.

What concerns me more is when I am let down more than once. In the past year I arranged with my council to collect several bulky items. To cut a sorry tale short, collections failed, phone calls were not returned and eventually after pursuing this to a higher level it was discovered that there was a computer error and the people doing the collection had not been alerted to my request. It would not have mattered how many times my collection had been rescheduled, it would not have been done. Had the council investigated the reason for the problem in the first place it would have saved time and hassle.

I believe that organisations should look at problems to see how they could be handled better and where people have been let down make very sure that it does not happen again.

We have arranged deliveries, promised on a particular day when we would get a phone call to give us a “time slot” – and it came to pass. We also have some equipment that needs servicing and consumables, book a day, and sure enough first thing we get a phone call to tell us the likely time. OK, it means we don’t know until the day the exact time but can arrange our time accordingly. If I cannot spare the time I can arrange, at least for portable goods, click and collect.

I wonder how many of us would be prepared to pay compensation when we simply don’t turn up for a hospital or doctors appointment, for an interview, at the garage for our car service, or just get to work late?

I’d rather we adopted the American attitude of complaining (if that is their approach), to make it culturally unacceptable to let someone down, than to expect automatic compensation. The incentive should be to stop unreliability, not permit it by payment (that comes out of all our pockets in the end)..

The trouble with compensation (apart from it coming out of all our pockets) is companies make terms more unacceptable, e.g. longer delivery slots, cheaper to cancel a train than run it late, lower promise of broadband speeds.

I can assure you malcolm that it is very much the exception if you find an American who does NOT complain about bad service . Why ? its built into part of the “American Dream ” that all businesses should be there for the customer and that shoddy service as well as getting very heated comments makes many American head to their Attorney,s office and YES ! it works . If this country is trying to be an “American clone ” then its service industry better buck up its ideas as Americans put great store in their hard worked for Dollars and getting done out of them is certainly not something they put up with .

John Portwood says:
17 March 2018

I cannot see in today’s technological age why various service personnel cannot ring to say they are delayed. I am sure we all appreciate that some jobs do not work out to plan, and we wold accept that as a fact if contacted as soon as practicable. A “no show” is just not acceptable.