New plans proposed by the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, could see broadband and landline customers that experience poor service get money back automatically.
Currently, customers have to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to get fair compensation from their phone and broadband providers, says Ofcom. The new plans would see customers automatically refunded for delays and poor service.
If Ofcom’s proposals are put into place, customers would receive £6 for each calendar day of delay at the start of a new service, £10 for each calendar day that their phone or broadband service is not repaired, and £30 for any time that an engineer fails to turn up for a scheduled appointment, or for appointments that were cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Ofcom has said that the plan could benefit up to 2.6 million customers, and see £185m paid out by telecoms providers.
The proposals are currently undergoing a consultation period, which will last until 5th June. If all goes smoothly, a decision should be published around the end of 2017.
The proposals are welcomed by the government, who is committed to keeping people in the UK digitally connected. Matt Hancock, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said that “These changes will help make sure people… are properly compensated if problems aren’t fixed quickly enough.” He added that the plans proposed by Ofcom are “at the heart of our Digital Economy Bill.”
Broadband providers also seem to welcome the plans, although TalkTalk stressed that “any scheme [must be] fair and transparent”. BT, Sky, and Virgin Media have also all issued their own draft proposals for automatic compensation – although Ofcom has said that the proposal doesn’t “sufficiently meet [their] concerns.”
One thing is clear in all this, however – customers are finally being put at the centre of the telecoms industry.
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Last updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2017
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