Unfortunately, the proposals don’t have your back if your internet is just a bit rubbish from time to time. If your broadband or landline completely dies and hasn’t been revived within two working days, however, you’ll get £8 in compensation for every following day your service remains down. If an engineer doesn’t turn up for an appointment, or cancels less than 24 hours before they were due to show, that’s £25 headed your way. Finally, if a provider says your new broadband or landline service will be up and running on a particular day and doesn’t deliver, you get £5 for every day you’re disconnected “including the missed start date.”
A fiver automatically credited to your account might go largely unnoticed, but you can bet it’s within a company’s interests to improve its service to avoid paying out 100,000 fivers. Providers have a while to get to grips with what’s expected of them, though. “Launching the first ever automatic compensation scheme for telecoms customers will be complex, and requires significant changes to providers’ billing systems, online accounts and call centres. So, there will be a 15-month implementation period before it comes into effect to ensure a smooth introduction,” Ofcom said.
Automatic compensation is something providers have “agreed” to, insinuating the commitment is voluntary on their part. But they best not forget that a regulator’s job is to regulate, should it come to that. “Ofcom will closely monitor the industry scheme, and review it one year after being implemented to ensure it’s working for consumers. If not, we will step in.”