Broadband and landline complainants to get automatic compensation

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Ofcom, the regulator, announced today that five providers - BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet - have agreed to pay back customers who experience slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations without them having to ask.

Problem: delayed fix following loss of service.

Broadband and landline customers with the biggest broadband providers, including BT, Sky and TalkTalk, will be compensated automatically when when service is disrupted and providers fail to resolve problems.

At present, compensation is reportedly paid out in only about 15% of cases where providers have failed to meet obligations.

"Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation", Oxfom consumer group director Lindsey Fussel said.

Ofcom says compensation is now only paid out for around one in seven broadband or landline problems, and at the moment customers who are given compensation only receive an average £3.69 a day for loss of service, and £2.39 a day for delayed installations.

"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".

They will also get £25 for an engineer missing an appointment or cancelling with less than 24 hours' notice, and £5 for each calendar day without service after the day they were promised a provider would start that service.

The scheme is voluntary and is expected to take up to 15 months to implement. Complaining about what may be seen as minor issues can be a lengthy process, with minimal reward. "It's great news for broadband and landline customers".

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". Despite the fact that many standard business contracts provide compensation for various only 49% of SME's did not know if they were entitled to compensation when service falls short.

Millett believes compensation rates for businesses are at such a low level that they amount to little more than a "slap on the wrist".

The automatic compensation plans, nine times higher than the current level, are meant to benefit millions of people who suffer from poor service.

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