Ofcom's new scheme to automatically compensate customers for broadband or landline problems goes into effect today.
However, it's voluntary, so not all providers are included – and presumably the really rubbish ones won't join.
So far, only BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky and Zen Internet have signed up, although EE, Hyperoptic, PlusNet and Vodafone have said they will be.
The compensation kicks in if your broadband or landline provider delays your installation, engineer appointment or repair. So you won't get compensation as soon as the network goes down, but you will if your provider doesn't sort it out sharpish.
Here's what you get:
- £5 a day for broadband or landline services that don't start on time
- £8 a day if they stop working and aren't completely sorted within two working days
- £25 if your engineer doesn't turn up on time or cancels with less than 24 hours' notice.
Ofcom says this happens more than 7 million times a year in the UK, so it's fair to say lots of people will benefit from the scheme.
Ofcom Chief Exec Sharon White comments:
"We think it's unacceptable that people should be kept waiting for a new line, or a fault to be fixed
[...] Customers must be treated fairly and given money back, without having to ask for it."
"Delayed repairs and missed appointment are frustrating, and are especially inconvenient if you rely on broadband for work. But the risk of a financial penalty should encourage providers to step up and quickly solve problems rather than letting them drag out - it's great news for broadband and landline customers.Hopefully all providers that have signed up to the scheme will stick to their promise and Ofcom will keep a close eye on the scheme in these early stages."
Apparently, the companies that have signed up cover more than 95% of UK customers. Let us know in the comments if yours isn't included, and whether you'll be switching as a result. [BBC]