The Daily Telegraph
Broadband firms must pay £10 a day for lost service
NEARLY six million broadband and landline customers who lose service or receive poor treatment every year should be automatically compensated, regulators have said. Under proposals announced yesterday by Ofcom, landline and broadband customers will receive £10 redress for each day they suffer a complete loss of connection.
Where they receive slow repairs or missed deadlines or appointments they will receive £30, without having to ask.
The move is a victory for The Daily Telegraph which has exposed how families have suffered at the hands of failing telecoms providers via the Better Broadband campaign.
Around 5.7 million cases of consumers experiencing a loss of their landline or broadband service occur per year, Ofcom estimates.
Engineers fail to turn up for around 250,000 appointments annually, while around one in eight landline and broadband installations are delayed, affecting more than 1.3 million people.
Ofcom confirmed that automatic compensation for bad service will not apply to “degradation” in internet speed, only to dead lines or no internet.
The regulator will now consult with the industry and is due to announce its final decision by the end of the year. Providers will then have 12 months to implement the new system.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “When a customer’s landline or broadband goes wrong, that is frustrating enough without having to fight tooth and nail to get fair compensation from the provider.
“So we’re proposing new rules to force providers to pay money back to customers automatically.
“This would mean customers are properly compensated, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, said: “We welcome Ofcom’s proposals to automatically compensate those forced to wait in for missed appointments, who experienced installation delays or suffered slow repairs. This will firmly place the impetus on providers to keep to their word.
“However, we shouldn’t pretend the level of compensation proposed – £30 per missed appointment for example – will be enough to make up for missing a day’s work,” he added. “But even at a modest level of compensation per user, the collective financial burden on providers will increase the pressure to improve service.”