Sunday 26 March 2017

Ofcom Proposes Automatic Compensation Scheme For Customers Affected By Broadband Or Landline Outage


Ofcom has proposed that customers should get automatic refunds if landline or broadband services are too slow, or if repair deadlines are missed.

The telecoms regulator said that under the proposal, customers would be entitled to automatic compensation, without having to go through potentially arduous claims processes, if their landline or broadband is not fixed quickly enough after it has stopped working, if their new service is not up and running on the day promised or if an engineer doesn’t arrive for an appointment as scheduled.

The group estimates that the plans would mean up to 2.6 million additional landline and broadband customers could receive up to £185m in new compensation payments each year.

“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.

She said that the benefit of the new rules would be two-fold: customers would be properly compensated and providers would want to work harder to improve the service they provide.

Ofcom said that it would set the compensation limit and that this would “reflect the degree of harm suffered by consumers”.

The new rules would not apply to mobile phone providers, based on data from Ofcom showing that they already make significant compensation payments and fewer than 1 per cent of mobile customers lose service for more than 24 hours.

Ofcom data also shows that there are 5.7 million cases each year of consumers experiencing a loss of their landline or broadband service, and each year engineers fail to turn up to around 250,000 appointments.

Earlier this week, Ofcom said that it had fined Plusnet £880,000 for continuing to charge customers for landline and broadband services after they had cancelled their contract.

The phone provider, which is owned by BT, continued to charge 1,025 customers who had cancelled either their landline or broadband service as a result of an error in Plusnet’s billing system which meant that the lines were still recognised as “live”, Ofcom said on Wednesday.

The customers were overcharged by more than £500,000 in total, it added.



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