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    Broadband users in line for millions in Ofcom compensation plan

    This is a discussion on Broadband users in line for millions in Ofcom compensation plan within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; https://www.theguardian.com/business...pensation-plan Telecoms watchdog proposes making providers pay automatic compensation for 7.2m customer service failings each year Broadband and landline customers ...

    1. #1
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      Broadband users in line for millions in Ofcom compensation plan

      https://www.theguardian.com/business...pensation-plan
      Telecoms watchdog proposes making providers pay automatic compensation for 7.2m customer service failings each year

      Broadband
      and landline customers who suffer poor service could get millions of pounds of money back automatically under a new scheme proposed by Ofcom.

      The telecommunications watchdog has published proposals to make providers pay for slow repairs and missed deadlines and appointments.

      It estimates that as many as 2.6 million customers could receive up to £185m in compensation payments each year under the proposed scheme.

      “When a customer’s landline or broadband goes wrong, that is frustrating enough, without having to fight tooth and nail to get fair compensation from the provider,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director.

      “We’re proposing new rules to force providers to pay money back to customers automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or when people wait in for an engineer who doesn’t turn up.

      “This would mean customers are properly compensated, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

      BT, Sky and Virgin Media have jointly put forward a draft proposal to introduce automatic compensation through a voluntary industry code of practice, but Ofcom said it did not consider that the proposal “sufficiently meets our concerns when quality of service falls short”.

      Ofcom has launched a consultation on its own tougher proposals, which would see customers receive automatic compensation in the form of a cash payment or credit to their bill for failings in three specific areas:


      • If a customer’s landline or broadband is not fixed quickly enough
      • If new services are not up and running on the day promised
      • If an engineer fails to arrive for a scheduled appointment


      Ofcom said it would set payments “designed to reflect the degree of harm suffered by consumers”, and gave a number of examples.

      If a broadband connection or landline is not fully fixed after two working days the provider would have to pay £10 a day until it is repaired.

      If an engineer does not turn up for an appointment or cancels with less than 24 hours’ notice, the payment would be £30.

      If a provider fails to start a service on the agreed date, it would have to pay £6 for each day of delay, including the missed start date.

      Ofcom bases its estimate of £185m in annual compensation payments on figures showing that there are currently 7.2m instances a year in which customers suffer delayed repairs, missed appointments or late installations.

      Only 1.1m were compensated, with a total payout of £16.3m.

      “Compensation payments are currently given ad-hoc to only a minority of those suffering problems [in up to 15% of cases], and can fail to adequately reflect the harm caused,” Ofcom said.

      Its research also shows that 5.7 million consumers experience a loss of landline or broadband service each year.

      Engineers fail to turn up to around 250,000 appointments a year and around 1.3 million people are affected by late installations.

      Ofcom said its proposed compensation scheme does not apply to mobile services as they “already make significant compensation payments to customers” and its research showd that less than 1% of customers lose service for more than 24 hours.

      The move comes in the same week that Ofcom fined BT-owned Plusnet £880,000 for continuing to charge more than 1,000 customers more than £500,000 even though they had cancelled their accounts.


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    3. #2
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      Re: Broadband users in line for millions in Ofcom compensation plan

      Who pays the compensation when a BTO engineer does not turn up, BTO or the ISP? I can't see the ISPs being very happy at having to pay out for another company's mistakes.

      TomD


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      Re: Broadband users in line for millions in Ofcom compensation plan

      I would expect BTO to be billed by the ISP.

      Since it is only the ISP who would have the customer's payment details, it would be inappropriate for BTO to be given them.

      Ultimately this is an improvement on what we currently have. Pushing customers to contact Sky and raise the issue of covering out of pocket expenses when someone has a dead line for more than 24 hours isn't particularly great, but at least it gets some results.

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