British broadband and fixed line subscribers will now able to claim money back from their service providers ‘without having to fight for it’, local telecom watchdog Ofcom has announced. From today (1 April), a new automatic compensation scheme has come into force, and although this is voluntary, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have already signed up to it. Furthermore, Hyperoptic and Vodafone have also agreed to join the scheme and intend to start paying compensation automatically later this year, meaning that the seven telcos which handle more than 95% of broadband and landline customers in the UK, have now signed up to the scheme.
In terms of the compensation system itself – which Ofcom claims could ‘see customers benefit from a total GBP142 million (USD185 million) in payments’ – there are three core elements. Firstly, customers whose service has stopped working and is not ‘fully fixed’ after two days will be entitled to GBP8 per calendar day for each day the service is not repaired. Secondly, a GBP25 charge will be levied for engineers either not turning up for an appointment or cancelling an appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice. Finally, a GBP5 per calendar day charge will be payable by providers for delays in the start of a new service, with this applying from the missed start date.