Ofcom has today proposed that landline and broadband providers pay automatic compensation to customers for broadband and phone outages, something we’ve been calling for for several years.
Customers would be entitled to automatic compensation – either a cash payment, or a credit on a bill – without having to go through a potentially lengthy and difficult claims process, whenever:
- their landline or broadband is not fixed quickly enough after it has stopped working; or
- their new landline or broadband service is not up and running on the day promised; or
- an engineer doesn’t arrive for an appointment as scheduled.
Compensation payments would be set by Ofcom and would apply to fixed broadband and landline telephone services only.
Ofcom estimates that the plans would mean up to 2.6 million additional landline and broadband customers could receive up to £185m in new compensation payments each year.
Broadband has become a modern-day essential, like gas, electricity and water, so it is only right that consumers should get compensation when their provider fails to deliver.
Arlene’s experience is a case in point:
‘I was with one provider for nearly three years and had an average of nine months of broadband. They had three different engineers out to try and fix the problem, which they still couldn’t fix. I called them endless times and they always said the fault was my internal wiring.
‘I had an engineer out at my own expense and my internal wiring was fine – the fault was outside. I called my provider again and explained that I had an engineer out to test the internal and external wiring, and told them the fault was outside not inside… but never heard another word. So I called them to tell them I was reporting them to Ofcom and cancelled the contract and signed up with another provider.
‘The new provider sent out an engineer a week later and I explained the problems I had had for nearly three years. He went outside and came back in five minutes later and said that’s it fixed! I got a bill in from my old provider for ending the contract and for the final two months of contract… I should be getting PAID compensation for the 25 months of no service not BILLED…’
We’re pleased that Ofcom has answered our calls (and those of our supporters) for a statutory scheme for automatic compensation for when things go wrong with your broadband, and that it’s looking to bring the sector more in line with the other essential household services.
However, we think that it now needs to swiftly push ahead with these proposals and ensure that this and other measures help to significantly improve the service that broadband customers receive.
A consultation on today’s proposals is open until 5 June and a decision will be made around the end of the year.
Are you happy with Ofcom’s proposals for an automatic compensation scheme? Do you think they go far enough?