/ Money, Technology

Update: We want statutory compensation for broadband and phone outages

Broadband wires

How many times has your broadband gone down? What about losing your mobile phone signal when you needed it most? And yet there’s no statutory compensation for all your telecoms services.

For many of us, broadband access is essential. Like gas, water and electricity, we’ve come to rely on all of our telecoms services, whether broadband or mobile, and we expect them to work whenever and wherever.

Yet, your rights when things do go wrong are nowhere near as strong as with gas, water or electricity. Sometimes your internet could be out for days, or your phone line is down when you’re waiting for an urgent phone call. Some of you have told us about the annoyance this causes, such as Bryan:

‘When there is no service I cannot work or communicate with the outside world, my work, my family, my neighbours, my GP, my food sources, my TV. Compensation should be paid even if there are only short breaks in the service. People’s lives can depend on it.’

When you experience an outage or loss of service to you electricity, gas or water supply, you’re entitled to statutory compensation for the inconvenience. For example, if your electricity supply is cut off for over 12 hours, you could receive a payment of £75. For low water pressure you can receive £25 in compensation. But there’s no such scheme if your broadband goes down.

Broadband down for months

There are occasions when providers do offer compensation, but as a customer it’s difficult if not impossible to find out how you might go about claiming or what criteria needs to be met when things go wrong. Lin had a terrible experience:

‘I was once without service for several months, which caused no end of inconvenience. I spent hours, sometimes seven consecutively, on the phone to their service line which kept cutting off, putting me through to a new and clueless person each time, which led to me breaking down and sobbing with frustration nearly every day.

‘In spite of trying to leave my contract, I could not without penalty. After many weeks and trying to escalate complaint, I was offered compensation of the measly sum of £1 per day for no service which I derided.’

Statutory compensation in telecoms

That’s why we think there should be a statutory scheme for automatic compensation in telecoms. We think this compensation should be simple, easy and fair and should be based on the expectations of customers rather than an arbitrary figure or unclear criteria.

Ofcom is due to announce the results of its first review of the telecoms sector in 10 years, and we hope that it announces measures that will make the sector work for consumers. We will find out tomorrow and we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Have you suffered from bad broadband or poor mobile signal? Did you attempt to get compensation? How did that go?

Update 25 February 2016

Ofcom has published the conclusions from its first strategic review of the communications sector in 10 years. It includes an announcement on automatic compensation.

Ofcom said it intends to introduce automatic compensation for when things go wrong with your broadband, landline or mobile. You won’t have to battle with getting compensation yourself; instead you’ll receive automatic refunds for any loss or reduction in service. Ofcom will consult on this proposal this year.

Update 6 July 2016 – Digital Economy Bill

Yesterday the government published its Digital Economy Bill which included lots of measures to improve mobile and broadband services in the UK and action to clamp down on nuisance calls.

The Bill means that you will now have a legal right to broadband and to request an internet connection, through the creation of a Universal Service Obligation. More action can be taken against companies who break the rules on direct marketing which will give you greater protections from nuisance calls.

You will be entitled to automatic compensation when you don’t get what you’ve paid for or something goes wrong with your service. And it will be easier to switch mobile phone services as your provider will do all the hard work, not you.

Telecoms is an essential service so we welcome these measures in the Digital Economy Bill and we’ll be working with government and others to make sure they are introduced swiftly so that all mobile and broadband customers receive a better service and are protected from nuisance calls.

Update 20 July 2016

BT Broadband customers have been suffering internet access problems today with outages reported in several areas of the country.

Problems with the service came to light at around 9.30am this morning after affected customers and businesses took to Twitter to complain. BT stated that around 10% of its customers were affected.

Today’s problems come only a day after MPs warned BT to reform and improve investment in its Openreach network or face a break-up.

We think customers who face outages like today’s should be automatically compensated. That’s why our campaign is calling on the Government to push forward its Digital Economy Bill ​to give broadband customers this right as soon as possible.

Comments
Guest
Adrian Dawson says:
21 July 2016

Whenever my BT landline rings and I answer it (or don’t) I lose my broadband connection for a number of minutes until the blue light on my router returns from – green, flashing orage and orange. With the huge amount of nusiance calls, which I generally do not answer these days, this can happen many times.

Guest

Adrian -thats a line fault your line is disconnecting when AC ringing current is applied . The fault could be anywhere from your house to the exchange . Phone BT NOW !

Guest
EA Newton says:
21 July 2016

My BT email has been erratic for weeks, probably longer but I was not aware at the time.
I have no problem receiving mail but my outgoing messages are not always received, although I am not notified that they are undeliverable and am unaware of this . If tracked it says they have been ‘processed and relayed’ . I ask for a’ read’ message but the recipient has to authorise this and does not always do this so it is not a clear indication. It was only when important questions were not answered and appointments not kept that the problem was discovered.
I have been in email contact with the ‘postmaster@btinternet’ for several weeks .
It seems ridiculous that they cannot rectify this.
I now send all emails on Gmail as well as BT as a test.
All Gmails are received but not all BT ones, especially ones with Btinternet or Yahoo addresses.

Guest

Your right EA – something is “going on ” with BT Mail I would just now call it “interference ” till I get more conclusive proof . My email client Thunderbird lets me know if an email I send doesnt reach the right destination.

Guest
T Williams says:
21 July 2016

When your e-mail popped up in my inbox, I thought “I will have a look at that” as I sometimes lose my internet connection. Guess what happened when I tried to open it? ….No Connection.

Guest
Brynmor says:
21 July 2016

I moved from Talk Talk/AOL to BT early in the year after being with them for 18years virtually trouble free. Biggest mistake I ever made! By broadband drops out for several minutes at least five times a day, and Wednesday’s drop-out for over two hours was the last straw. I think it’s a BT ploy to get you onto fibre optic.

Guest
Jon Turner says:
21 July 2016

I wasn’t affected today, but that might be because I’ve only just switched on! I always find if I do lose connection it’s nearly always around 4pm. It’s a damn nuisance.

Guest
Peter. says:
21 July 2016

I have no problem with my broadband speed which usually exceeds 15MB. However it has taken BT Open Reach more than six weeks to fix a cable fault in the road outside our house. We had no phone or internet at all between 3rd June and 6th July, then we were given a temporary line without broadband until full service was restored on 20th July.

Guest

You might be interested to know that the knock-on effects of the BT outage in London.

I am hearing that LloydsLink has been screwed up with solicitors having to take paper forms to their nearest branch. Not easy if you do not have a branch near. The problem does not stop there as payments instructed at eleven a.m for completion monies are still sitting undebited on Solicitor’s client accounts.

If you think how many people have been badly messed about, families, removal vans, etc the level of compensation seems to have higher levels to be covered.

Guest
Dennis says:
22 July 2016

I have been with BT for broadband, telephone and TV for approximately 6 months, during this time we have hade to reset the router a least once a week. Have stopped complaining as all we are advised to do by BT is to reset the router and this will solve the problem.
Service at it’s best don’t you think!

Guest

Dennis , plug your router into the master socket using a LAN cable try that. Is the router overheating ? Are you a very heavy user of Torrents etc ? is there noise on the line ? . Insist on a change of router /modem . Your IP address could be constantly changing check out IP every week . Do not accept failure ! Get back onto BT via MY BT put in an official complaint -Contact BT- email- fill in boxes – send – they will be obliged to get back and help you. This could be a number of issues keep at them .

Guest

Another BT outageThursday. So two days in a row. Given the Wednesday one affected roughly 10% of subscribers any compensation legislation would certainly be concentrating minds.

Guest
MrsV says:
22 July 2016

Thought I was doing the right thing by “upgrading” to the BT Smart Hub, what a load of rubbish. My speed tonight (just after 11pm) is download 19.17 and upload 11.6. I’ve been messed about by BT for over a week, answered all their inane questions agreed to have an engineer visit but then they cancelled that and said the problem would be resolved by today. It’s even worse now. Don’t listen to the hype – this is no smart hub, just a money making machine for BT

Guest

On a point of interest MrsV is this a HH5 or the latest one just out HH6 with the more powerful wi-fi ? What were your speeds previously and how long have you had it installed ? Get back onto them if you are not happy do it through MY BT put in a complaint easy to do on line once you log in go to contact BT and email and take it from there.

Guest
peter sampson says:
23 July 2016

wow 19.17 download, mine is .58 yes, point five eight. How about that and you complain. You want to live in the real world. Peter S.

Guest
Daniel says:
23 July 2016

BT Broadband intermittent outages for 12 days between 1 July and 13 July 2016 in Aston Fields, Bromsgrove. No compensation and BT kept sending engineers out to our neighbourhood knowing full well that the problem was located in one of the ir boxes (two electronic boards needed replacement). Compensation? You must be joking

Guest
Julie Dorney says:
25 July 2016

Absymal service we moved from sky to b.t £75/£80 a month & we’re getting about 6 coming into the house we were supposed to get a call back yesterday no one bothered as soon as we can were going back to sky we had no problems

Guest
Ian Chapman says:
26 July 2016

We should get top quality and top speed broadband. That is what we pay for! For too long we have put up with inferior broadband reception and feeble excuses! Service providers, GET YOUR FINGERS OUT!!

Guest

Most people are paying for up to 8 Mbps, and for most people if the service is reliable that is satisfactory. Those who require top speed do, and should, pay more. If they are not getting what they are paying for there are ways to get redress.

Guest

Your comment that ‘redress is available if you are not getting what’s paid for’ is a little naive. My own personal experiences have found an industry pro-actively selling specific ‘premium’ packages and products which are incapable of achieving the ISP claims, and even though more suitable package deals are available, month after month they will say nothing and take, take, take.

Guest
Mrs turner says:
27 July 2016

As a business user for both broadband and my phone line it is good to know ofcom has decided to act on this. There is also another point I would like to raise in relation to the charges on my bills. I get charged £6.00 by bt for paying cash and they charge £8.00 for each bill, This would have cost me £192.00 a year. I have since complained and they have credited my bill for £16.00. I. Now have the bills emailed to cut costs. How can they charge people like this it can be a heavy burden for a small business.

Guest
sylviathomas says:
27 July 2016

never order a mobile phone on line, I did and it cost me £600 to come out of the contract they kept charging me from £20 a month to 36 and up, never again

Guest
Sinlow says:
29 July 2016

I have not used a company or bought products with the name British in front of it as the product sold or the service given from a company means shoddy product/service. I grew up with the likes of BT and can remember when we had no choice but to use them. Back then they were a money grabbing, profit making Leviathan. Now they seem more interested in profits for shareholders than they have in their customer who keep them in profit/employed. BT should be stripped of ALL control of internet and land lines as their greed can only be compared to that other great British leviathan, the dreaded BBC. I have also not had a TV for may years because of their GREED.
Sinlow.

Guest

I appreciate that many people are concerned that they don’t get the advertised broadband speed, but when you consider rural locations which have a top ‘speed’ of 0.5 mbps and a connection which cuts out if more than one person in the area is on line you may need to get things in perspective. A reliable connection with a modest speed of say 5mbps would be bliss. Think yourselves lucky if you have reliability and even a quarter of your advertised speed.

Guest
Ricky Lightning says:
2 August 2016

I would hazard a guess that the MAJORITY of broadband packages sold in this country have been sold using dubious and ambiguous ISP claims. Their misleading manipulation of performance claims ( most claims are ‘legal’ and within the parameters agreed by the ISP’s and OFCOM, but the spin is irresponsible) in regards to download speeds, data allowances and usage rules are as far as I am concerned, so far removed from the actual user experience that it is criminal.
You would be shocked if you knew just how poor your internet service provider would need to be before they would have to accept the service is under performing.
Admittedly OFCOM and ISP self-regulation has begun to address issues which cause the most ‘irritation.’

Guest
faith Ncube says:
27 August 2016

There is a company called mobius they affered me a Wi-Fi contract for R49 for 300mb and I agreed so the first month they debited me the R49 on the second month they took R49 plus R804 from my bank account I called them and they told me my contract is unkempt n that was not part of the agreement. I am very poor to take something with no limit they must me kidding me. I don’t want this contract anymore and I reversed my money from the bank I am cancelling this contract. I am so mad I look on facebook and there are many people com lain in get about mobius contract’s. This people are scamming us out of our hard earned cash. We need to take a stand.

Guest

Faith , by usings Rands are you a south African citizen ? If so Mobius is a technical company that assists iSP,s etc in the running of their business in South Africa but otherwise it is also a US communications company offering ,as you say, broadband contracts . It must have given you a contract as it is a multi national company ,did you look in the small print about the amount of the bundle you pay for and how much can be taken from your bank direct debit?

Guest
Tim Fellows says:
30 August 2016

I have just switched, but my old suppler, Vodafone, are taking ages to unlock my phone. Seems like vindictiveness just because I left them. Apple can’t help – it has to be Vodafone. Not good.

Guest

Tim -there are companies on the Internet that will unlock you from Vodaphone they cover most types but not all models ,is yours one of the ones that cannot be unlocked privately ? Obama has repealed the anti-unlocking legislation in the States recently so its no longer a criminal offence .

Guest
brian bisseker says:
7 September 2016

hi i am having a problem with EE i had an upgrade to i phone 5 the sales man told me being has i had been a long term customer i could have a tablet for £29 after 3 months my wife said why were EE taking so much money from our bank i went to the store to sort this out he told me the sales man had not informed me they were charging me £16 for the tablet plus the phone which he said would cost £23 which ended up £26 do you think i have a case for mis/selling

Guest

Brian , when a company are selling to you they must give you all the details of the contract you are entering into , thats why many radio ads and TV ads comment on “terms+ conditions ” . If you were not given those then that could be a case of mis-selling , even if you are with the company already , you are in effect agreeing to a change in your contract which must be spelled out ,if not then that is mis-representation of the facts.

Guest
Shane Greene says:
14 September 2016

Is anyone else have serious issues with their Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge screens? I have dark grey lines over the whole screen, unless I use it on full brightness, which is a battery killer.

Guest

Got it Shane – A whole webpage of the same complaints and they are bang up to date NOT old posts only a couple of months ago . The fault is the integrated graphics chip, a poster had it replaced and –fault cured ! The problem ? Samsung will argue with you ,you have to persevere

Guest

A statement by EE in March 2016 stated they would offer to unlock phones for free to end-of-contract users by summer 2016. As summer has now come to a close and no such offer has been introduced, I have asked EE for clarification… turns out a lot of other users are asking the same question… so far EE has been rather cagey in their responces!

Guest
Paul says:
1 October 2016

We need to be able to block reverse billing messages and subscription charges. We need to be confident that we can afford to provide a phone for our children and those we care for.
The Network Providers like Three say the Bill Payer has to take responsibility, however there is no choice to opt out of these additional services.
Failing to allow us to block these services unfairly disadvantages those of us that care for our relatives.
The first Network to allow the blocking of reverse billing should be championed as the Network that cares about all it’s customers.

Guest

My contract expired with PLUSNET on October 2016. In August I got 2 Emails to renew it , but I refused what PLUSNET done is to reduce our Down Load speed. to 0.40 . It made it impossible for us to use the Net every time we click to any page it say you are not connected. So I went back to PLUSNET & they told me that is my problem & go to TECHNICOLOUR & solve it by my self. But I told them that every time we CLICK it say we are not connected, they just did not want to know. We had 2 months left of our contract left thats what they done to us. they took money from my account for nothing they stole that money. & they came recommended by which MAG