In Brief

Ofcom proposes automatic compensation for broadband problems

New proposals could see companies paying out up to £185m each year to unhappy customers

Broadband and landline phone customers could get money back each year for ongoing poor service under proposals set out by Ofcom.

In order to improve service levels across the sector, the telecommunications regulator has set out plans for a system of instant payouts for problems such as days without connection, missed engineer appointments and delays in implementing new services.

Customers would automatically receive £10 for every day they are without broadband or telephone services, £30 if an engineer fails to make an appointment without giving 24 hours' notice and £6 for each day a new service is delayed beyond its scheduled start date.

Up to £185m could be paid out as a result, said Ofcom, adding the plans would mean customer no longer "having to "fight tooth and nail" to get "fair compensation", reports the BBC

"Ofcom said that each year, there were 7.2 million instances that would be subject to compensation under its new proposals, but that currently, only 1.1 million of these attracted payments," adds the broadcaster

Sky, Virgin Media and BT have put forward their own plans for a similar system to be part of a new voluntary code of conduct.

However, Ofcom said: "At this stage, we do not consider that this proposal sufficiently meets our concerns."

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: "It's important that customers are treated fairly when services can't be delivered, but this is best achieved through a robust industry-led approach.

"The industry is working together on ambitious reforms that would incentivise communications providers to compete to provide customers with a better service, while also setting minimum standards that providers would have to meet."

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