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OFCOM announces automatic compensation for delays to phone and broadband repair

OFCOM HAS announced that telco providers and ISPs of fixed broadband and fixed-line telephony will be expected to offer automatic compensation when appointments get missed, repairs get botched or take ages, and installations are delayed while they mess about with the cabinet for six weeks.

The new rules state that a customer gets £8 a day for an outage beyond 2 days. £5 per day is payable for each day late a service is after installation. £25 is payable for a missed appointment of a cancellation within 24 hours.

The scheme has been agreed by the big five, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet, whose customers represent 90 per cent of customers but some of who pushed back at first. BT offshoot Plusnet and EE are also said to be joining.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “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.”

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Services, said: “We are pleased that compensation for poor broadband is going to become automatic, as it is now such an essential part of all of our everyday lives.

“For all consumers to get what they’re entitled to, it’s vital that all providers play fair and sign up to this scheme.”

But although the scheme has been cautiously welcomed, some social media commenters believe that the scheme doesn’t go far enough and that the compensation levels don’t reflect the actual out of pocket expense, let alone the inconvenience if, say, you’ve taken the day off work for an engineer.

However, it’s still better than the 1 in 7 cases that get a single penny at the moment. Progress is progress.

Additionally, the scheme won’t actually kick in properly for 15 months whilst procedures are properly put in place, though OFCOM will have a transition scheme in place. µ

Source : Inquirer

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