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Ofcom Raises Automatic Compensation Payments from UK ISPs

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 6,408
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Ofcom has confirmed that their automatic compensation system, which requires some UK ISPs to compensate consumers (cash or bill credits) for various broadband connectivity mishaps and service delivery delays, is to increase its payment amounts each year in line with inflation (even if the provider’s own prices have reduced).

The new voluntary system, which was launched on 1st April 2019 (full summary here), is designed to compensate consumers by £8 per day for delayed repairs following a loss of broadband (assuming it isn’t fixed within 2 working days). Missed appointments can also attract compensation of £25 and a delay to the start of a new service would be £5 per day.

At present this is supported by most of the major ISPs including BT, Hyperoptic, Sky Broadband (inc. NOW Broadband), TalkTalk, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Media and Zen Internet. Sadly, three of the biggest providers, including Plusnet, EE and Vodafone, are continuing to drag their feet over joining (here).

The good news (or bad news if you’re a supporting ISP) is that Ofcom has just revised the scheme’s terms to increase its payments. “From 2021 onwards, payments will increase from 1st April each year based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of 31st October in the previous year. The payment increase will apply to any new service issues that occur from 1st April,” said Ofcom.

We can understand why Ofcom have taken this approach, although it’s unlikely to help with encouraging more ISPs to join – especially smaller providers – given the high cost and technical requirements (new systems needed etc.) of supporting the scheme. Otherwise, the change for this year means that providers must now pay out £8.06 per day for delayed repairs, £25.18 for missed appointments and £5.04 per day for a delay to the start of a new service.

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17 Responses
  1. Buggerlugz says:

    Why is it voluntary? OFCOM should just make it compulsory.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      You could perhaps make it mandatory for the biggest providers, but not all providers. The smallest players and new entrants would be placed at an even greater disadvantage versus those with economics of scale on their side.

    2. Buggerlugz says:

      Personally I’d rather have them regulate that if you are without connection for 24 hours or more in a month that you don’t pay your bill that month. This would force ISP’s to invest more into the stability and provision within their networks.

    3. Roger_Gooner says:

      Those who opt out make those who opt in a bit more attractive.

    4. keith bolger says:

      Why is it that the smaller companies who rent lines of openreach/telecom. Can afford to charge less than Telecom charge themselves. Unless openreach have been round and put fiberoptic right into your home your service enters on cable. Depending on how close to your home a fiberoptiic box is. Will mean how long the normal cable is normally over head.
      The only true all fiberoptic connections is from Virgin as they had contractors digging up footpaths and laying ducts for fiberoptic cable..

  2. Ben says:

    IMO these should rise annually based on the ISPs inflation increases – i.e. the compensation payments from BT, EE, PlusNet, John Lewis Broadband, and Vodafone would increase by CPI + 3.9% each year.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      So what about the ISPs where their prices don’t change or actually decrease (e.g. Zen Internet)? Plus you have to remember that a lot of this stuff reflects problems that happen on the infrastructure side, which is often the fault of suppliers to those ISPs rather than the retail ISPs themselves. Providers will also have to raise their prices by even more to compensate for the compensation changes :).

    2. Ben says:

      I guess no price increases would mean no compensation increases – it seems logical that the amount of compensation would be proportional to the inconvenience (which is the same regardless of your provider) and the price you pay.

  3. Anna says:

    I got £50 from Sky because when I moved in I was only able to get 7/2 but after the second engineer visit 2 days later they fixed it to get 21/5 – I told Sky but they just ignored me. The £50 went on my final bill as I was leaving anyway and it’s now a credit waiting to come back to me.

    Thanks Sky!

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Superfast Fibre then?

  4. Rob says:

    Having lived through nearly 3 days in a postcode with all internet access cut off, I feel duty bound to point out that “assuming it isn’t fixed within 2 working days” may be the spirit of the Ofcom code but the implementation is a full two working days following the day an issue is reported, which allows Virgin at least to squeeze an extra day out of their SLA.

  5. sam says:

    Sadly, three of the biggest providers, including Plusnet, EE and Vodafone, are continuing to drag their feet over joining.

    SHAME ON YOU PLUSNET, EE and VODAFONE. Disgrace!

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Of-course they are, its “voluntary” and will cost them financially.

  6. Irish tony says:

    Good idea except if your with Virgin.Then it’s normally impossible to get through to them as they all seem to be working from home.I have spent the last month on the phone to them and only just managed to sort out the problem

    1. Roger_Gooner says:

      It seems that calling at 8am is best.

  7. Badem says:

    Worse thing is actually trying to get your Auto Comp, VM are the utter worst. Service off for three days, tried to contact to confirm Auto Comp, no help at all on their auto chat, eventually raised CEo complaint and they confirmed I would get Auto Comp but had to phone them to get this added to my account.

    Given I am deaf its hardly the right way to do it, 3 moinths later I am STILL waiting for the payment.

  8. Gavin D says:

    I’m currently with BT and they have allowed someone else to take my line despite me forming them on the two occasions I received an alert. It’s now been 17 days without connection and they still have not fixed the issue… surely I should be entitled to a large piece of compensation. 1) for not doing what they said they would do 2) it was two occasions they said it’s all prevented 3) loss of service for this length of time 4) it’s prevented me to WFH, I’ve had to travel to go into work which is quite the distance. They have discovered that the problem is an ONT number yet still have not resolved the issue? Any tips on when it comes to the compensation/redress peice I need to talk about to them? They stated they will only log a complaint once the issue is resolved.

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