From 1 April 2019, broadband and landline customers will get money back from their providers when things go wrong, without having to fight for it.
Previously, only around one in seven broadband or landline customers who suffer delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments have received compensation from their provider; and even then, only in small amounts.
Ofcom has therefore intervened to ensure fairness for customers, while giving companies a strong incentive to avoid delays occurring in the first place.
The UK’s largest broadband and landline providers have agreed to compensate customers when they experience these delays, without having to ask. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet are already signed up to the scheme and EE, Hyperoptic, Plusnet and Vodafone have recently joined. Hyperoptic and Vodafone will start paying compensation automatically later this year, while EE expects to be able to start paying automatically next year. Together, the participating firms account for more than 95% of broadband and landline customers in the UK.
Ofcom estimates that the new scheme could see customers benefit from £142m in payments – around nine times the amount they receive today. As well as consumers, it will benefit the many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who choose residential landline and broadband services.
This is how it works:
Ofcom will carefully monitor companies’ compliance with the compensation scheme, and report on how it is working next year. If customers are not being treated fairly, Ofcom will step in and take action.
The compensation scheme is part of Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers programme of work to ensure that broadband, phone and TV customers are treated fairly.
- A price cap on directory enquiry services, which also cames into force on 1 April. The cap will protect people who call these 118 numbers from high prices.
- Clear, honest information for broadband shoppers – before they commit to a contract – about what speeds they will get.
- Plans to make companies tell people when their contracts are coming to an end, and what their best available deals are;
- A review of broadband companies’ pricing practices, examining why some people pay more than others;
- A review of how mobile operators charge for handsets when these are bundled with airtime; and
- Easier switching for mobile customers, which will come into effect by 1 July.