British telecom regulator Ofcom today suggested compensation for landline and broadband customers when things go wrong.
As per the latest consultation paper from Ofcom, broadband service providers need to compensate for slow repairs, missed deadlines and appointments.
In response to Ofcom’s plans, BT, Sky and Virgin Media have jointly put forward a draft proposal to introduce automatic compensation through a draft voluntary industry code of practice. At this stage, Ofcom does not consider that this proposal sufficiently meets our concerns, when quality of service falls short.
Ofcom said UK’s broadband customers would be entitled to automatic compensation, without going through a lengthy and difficult claims process.
Consumers can get compensation:
# If their landline or broadband is not fixed quickly enough after it has stopped working
# If their new landline or broadband service is not up and running on the day promised
# If an engineer doesn’t arrive for an appointment as scheduled
Ofcom estimates that up to 2.6 million additional landline and broadband customers could receive up to £185 million in new compensation payments each year.
“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,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director.
Today’s proposals apply to fixed broadband and landline telephone services. Ofcom analysis shows that mobile companies make significant compensation payments to customers and we estimate that less than 1 percent of mobile customers lose service for more than 24 hours.
While most consumers are generally satisfied with their telecoms services, a significant minority still experience problems.
There are 5.7 million cases of consumers experiencing a loss of their landline or broadband service.
Engineers failed to turn up for around 250,000 appointments. Around one in eight landline and broadband installations were delayed (12 percent), affecting more than 1.3 million people.
One in four people (26 percent) who experienced a missed appointment have taken a wasted day off work to wait at home for an engineer.
Compensation payments are currently given ad-hoc to a minority of those suffering problems (in up to 15 percent of cases).
Around one-third of small and medium-sized enterprises choose residential landline and broadband services and would also benefit from our compensation proposals.
Ofcom proposes that all SMEs should benefit from clearer, more detailed information upfront about the service on offer – including whether they are entitled to compensation, and how much, when problems occur.
Currently, there are 7.2 million instances where landline or broadband customers suffer delayed repairs, missed appointments or delays to new installations. Financial compensation, totalling around £16.3 million, is currently paid out in 1.1 million of these cases.