Ofcom launched an automatic compensation scheme for consumers and small businesses where there is a delayed repair following loss of a landline and/or fixed broadband service. The catch is that there will be a 15-month implement period before this comes into effect.

Consumers and small businesses will be compensated automatically by providers for slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations. Customer’s accounts will be credited, without having to ask for the compensation.

The compensations amounts will be as follows:

  • £8 for each day that a landline or broadband service is not working if not fully fixed after two full working days.
  • £25 for missed engineer appointments or where an engineer cancels with less than 24 hours’ notice.
  • £5 for each calendar day after the date on which a provider promised to start a new service.

Ofcom announced that BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have agreed to introduce automatic compensation which will reflect the harm consumers suffer when things go wrong. Plusnet and EE have also indicated that they will join the scheme.

Ofcom has stated that the automatic compensation will apply to all residential consumers and around a third of SMEs.

Also, Ofcom confirmed that new rules for SMEs will be introduced to ensure that they are given clearer, more detailed information upfront about what service quality to expect. This includes whether they can claim compensation when problems occur. Ofcom says that many standard business contracts make provision for compensation for a number of problems.

Note that the automatic compensation scheme does not apply to mobile customers who lose service, as Ofcom notes that the number of mobile customers likely to lose service for more than 24 hours is low, and mobile customers currently receive more compensation than broadband and landline customers.

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