Singapore Markets closed

BT, Virgin and the biggest broadband firms to provide automatic compensation for poor service

Amelia Murray
Virgin Media, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Zen Internet have all agreed to compensate broadband and landline customers when things go wrong

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.

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.

The scheme is voluntary and is expected to take up to 15 months to implement. Other providers could agree to sign up in the future.

The compensation will be paid to customers experiencing problems with their broadband and landlines that are not fixed within set time frames, as seen below.

Ofcom has announced what compensation will be paid and in what circumstances Credit: Ofcom

The compensation depends on what goes wrong. 

Those who experience a broadband or landline blackout which is not fully repaired after two days will get £8 per day for each day they have to wait for it to be repaired.

If an engineer fails to show up as agreed, or cancels with less than 24 hours notice, customers will get £25 per missed appointment. 

If a broadband or landline service does not start on the promised date, providers must pay £5 for each day of the delay, including the missed start date.

As it stands, in these cases, providers refuse to pay out in 85pc of cases, according to Ofcom.

Consumer groups have welcomed the automatic compensation but say the amounts on offer are too small.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson from uSwitch, the comparison site, suggested the money won't cover customers losses when they are let down.

He said: "We're so reliant on broadband that, for many, the prospect of any downtime may be practically unimaginable - especially for the 25pc of adults who now work from home part or full time.

"While the level of compensation proposed – £25 per missed appointment for example – might not make up for missing a day’s work, the collective financial burden on providers will increase the pressure to improve service."