In Depth

Broadband and landline compensation: how to get a refund from your provider

Customers to get £25 for missed engineer appointment and £8 a day for loss of service

Five of the UK’s major broadband and landline providers will begin issuing compensation for network problems from today. 

Drawn up by government-backed regulator Ofcom, the scheme will entitle broadband and landline users to partial refunds if they experience a loss of service, installation delays or if an engineer fails to turn up to an appointment. 

BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet are the first five providers to sign up to the scheme, with Hyperoptic, Vodafone, EE and Plusnet planning to join in the near future, the BBC says. 

Ofcom says that there are 7.2 million cases of customers suffering web outages or delayed repairs every year. Until now, only one in seven broadband or landline customers received compensation for these issues.

The regular’s chief executive, Sharon White, said it was “unacceptable that people should be kept waiting for a new line, or a fault to be fixed”.

“These new protections mean phone and broadband firms will want to avoid problems occurring in the first place,” she added. “But if they fall short, customers must be treated fairly and given money back.”

According to Which?, the five companies that have signed up to the scheme include some of the worst-performing providers in terms of customer satisfaction, despite together supplying 90% of the UK with landline and broadband connections. 

Sky and TalkTalk rank the lowest for consumer satisfaction, while BT’s customer service was “panned” and Virgin users were the “most likely to complain about price increases”, says the consumer watchdog.

How do you claim compensation?

Customers won’t need to chase up their service provider for a refund. Instead, the compensation owed will be deducted from their next bill, according to Expert Reviews

Although the process is automatic, customers can contact their provider if they feel that they have not been fairly compensated. 

Compensation can be claimed if the customer’s experiences the following issues: 

  • Their broadband or landline service has stopped working and has not been repaired after two working days
  • A technician has not turned up to an appointment or has cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice
  • Their provider has failed to activate a new service on the agreed start date
What are the refund rates?

According to Trusted Reviews, the rates for refunds are as follows: 

  • Delays activating a new service: £5 per day of the delay from the missed start date
  • Delayed repairs (following a service outage): £8 per day of downtime
  • Missed technician appointments: £25 per missed appointment

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