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Did you know about compensation for poor service?

We’ve had people query the Ofcom Broadband compensation decision. We like to cover IT/telecoms news, so here we assess what it means to you... and us!


Hi everyone, Zarte here! Just bear with me, I’m just finishing writing a letter of complaint, won’t be long! Preposterous... Grumpy... Sincerely...

And I’m done. What was I complaining about? Oh just poor service. It drives me insane how many companies will quite gladly take your money, but then when you have an issue, push you from pillar to post before they sort it, and not take any accountability for it, no matter how plainly obvious it is that the issue is entirely their fault.

I know Marc feels exactly the same way on the matter, which is why we’ve always prided ourselves on strong customer service. On the rare occasions we’ve done things wrong, we’ve even taken something off of a bill as an apology. Taking that sort of an initiative is what we feel all companies should be doing, off of their own back.

So we were interested to see the announcement from Ofcom recently that householders who receive poor service from their providers will receive automatic compensation. Indeed, from 2019 onwards, customers will receive £8 per day for any fault that isn’t fixed within 24 hours, £5 a day if their broadband doesn’t work from the day it was originally announce to be, and £25 any time that an engineer fails to show up for an appointment or who cancels with less than 24 hours notice.

This agreement covers customers whose contracts are held by BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet. These companies between them make up roughly 90% of telecoms customers in the UK.

This does mean that our telecoms customers aren’t going to be getting automatic compensation from us any time soon, however the consumer advice magazine “Which?” have said that those providers who haven’t already joined the scheme should do so.

We applaud any decision to give a better service to consumers, but in addition to the obvious plus points of this decision, we also find ourselves pondering on a couple of things that Ofcom, at least in our research on the matter, don’t seem to have said on the matter or taken into account.

First of all is that black and white guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable, give more scope for the big providers to come up with ways to flaunt the rules. Perhaps it’s our cynicism, however a series of estimated live dates that are way in the future seem plausible, and additionally an abundance of appointments being cancelled with 24 hours notice seem likely, similarly. Whilst we understand the comparative manpower it would take, it would seem to us that the ability to judge individual cases on their own merit would be far more revealing and allow for customers to receive just compensation, not just give an additional bunch of things for the bigwigs to avoid.

Secondly, I can find no reference to what we thought was an obvious point. The vast majority of the UK telecoms system run on the BT system, and so whilst an individual may have a contract with a specific provider, a fault on the line is as much to do with BT as it is to do with the provider. Unless the implication is that providers turn to BT to reimburse them the compensation that they’ve had to pay as the result of a BT fault, we’re unsure why smaller providers with smaller margins would ever be inclined to join in with the scheme, however much “Which?” might suggest otherwise. This clearly isn’t a concern shared by some other providers though, as both EE and Plusnet have been announced to be joining the scheme shortly after its launch.

In conclusion, we find ourselves pleased that Ofcom are trying to do something about the declining standards of customer service in the Telecoms industry over recent times, but also find ourselves asking questions that we weren’t doing previously. Additionally, however, we are recognising that these points may well become clear over the coming period, and we may well be able to add more to this article at such a time as we find ourselves with more clarity – and not just asking more questions.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, we as always would love to hear from you. Drop us a call to speak to one of our team.

Until next time,