Ofcom has announced a new scheme whereby landline and broadband customers in the UK will receive automatic compensation from their ISP in the event of delayed repairs or missed appointments.

Following a consultation on the matter, the watchdog has announced that BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have agreed to pay their users compensation in the event of delays.

So here’s how it will work. If a phone or broadband connection goes down, and isn’t ‘fully’ fixed within two working days, for each subsequent day that the connection isn’t functional, the customer will get £8.

If the service provider’s engineer fails to turn up for an appointment – or cancels with less than 24 hours’ notice – the customer gets £25 compensation.

And compensation will also be provided for delays when setting up a new phone or broadband connection. If the ISP misses your allotted start date, for every day that you’re delayed, you will receive £5 compensation.

This is clearly good news for consumers, who will no longer have to battle to get compensation in the case of such delays, with money being credited to their account automatically instead.

Putting things in place

Although Ofcom notes that implementing this automatic process is a fair undertaking for service providers, and therefore there will be a period of 15 months to allow everything to be put into place.

The ISPs currently subscribed to the automatic compensation scheme represent around 90% of landline and broadband users in the UK, according to Ofcom. And more providers are expected to sign up further down the line.

Lindsey Fussell, Consumer Group Director at Ofcom, commented: “Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation.

“So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up. People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

Ofcom further noted that the scheme will benefit small businesses, too, as around a third of SMBs in the UK use residential landline and broadband services (as opposed to a dedicated business plan).

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