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Most broadband and landline users now to be paid automatic compensation for service issues

Most broadband and home phone customers will be automatically compensated for loss of service, delayed installations or missed appointments, under an agreement struck between the biggest telecoms providers and the industry watchdog.

Over 90% of broadband and landline customers, including households using BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk services, will have money knocked off their bills for delayed repairs, missed engineer appointments and delays to the start of a service.  

Under the scheme, which began on Monday 1 April, you'll be entitled to compensation when:

  • Your landline or broadband is not fixed quickly enough after it has stopped working.
  • Your new landline or broadband service is not up and running on the day promised.
  • An engineer doesn't arrive for an appointment as scheduled.

For more on how broadband works, your rights and the top deals, see our How to get cheap broadband guide.

Which firms will automatically pay compensation? 

The scheme is a voluntary agreement between telecoms regulator Ofcom and broadband providers. Five providers – which between them have about 90% of broadband and home phone users as customers – have already signed up:

  • BT
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
  • Zen Internet

Vodafone, EE and Hyperoptic have confirmed they will join the scheme within the next year, while a Plusnet spokesperson told MSE it is "committed" to joining, but hasn't yet given a date.

A spokesperson for the Post Office, which offers broadband and home phone packages, said: "We will keep this under review, but we won't be joining the scheme right now. We deal with each complaint on a case-by-case basis."  

Ofcom expects about £142 million to be paid out by providers each year in automatic compensation. 

What have the companies agreed?

Here's what you'll get as automatic compensation under the new scheme:

Problem Broadband or landline customers are entitled to compensation if... Amount of compensation
Delayed repair following loss of service Their service has stopped working and it's not fixed after two full working days £8 for each calendar day the fault isn't repaired
Missed appointments An engineer doesn't turn up for a scheduled appointment, or it's cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice £25 per missed appointment
Delays to the start of a new service The provider promises to start a new service on a particular date, but fails to do so £5 for each calendar day of delay, including the missed start date

It's worth stressing that for a delayed repair you'll begin to be paid compensation if it's not fixed after two working days (so Monday to Friday), but after this point you'll be owed £8 each calendar day, including weekends and bank holidays.

The compensation scheme will not apply to mobile phone customers encountering service problems or delays. Ofcom has said that the number of mobile customers likely to lose service for more than 24 hours is low. It added that mobile users already receive more compensation than broadband and landline customers.

How is the compensation paid? 

Compensation is paid as bill credit within 30 calendar days of the issue. 

If you choose to leave your provider while still in credit, this will be refunded to the bank account you used to pay your direct debit or sent as a cheque.

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