Ofcom consultation

I receive a great deal of correspondence from my constituents about poor service from telephone and internet providers. I am aware how much delays in getting repairs done, missed appointments and starting a new service costs in terms of time and money.

I have received the communication below from the Chief Executive of Ofcom. They are consulting on proposals to require phone and broadband providers to pay automatic compensation in these cases. The consultation ends on 5 June and you can access it at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/automatic-compensation

“Ofcom has today set out new proposals to require phone and broadband providers to pay automatic compensation – either a cash payment, or a credit on a bill – to customers who suffer slow repairs, missed appointments or delays to starting new services.

When a customer’s landline or broadband goes wrong, that is frustrating enough without having to fight to get fair compensation from the phone company. So we are proposing new rules to force providers to pay money back to customers automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or when people wait in for an engineer who doesn’t turn up. This would mean customers are properly compensated, while providers will be incentivised to work harder to improve their service.

Compensation payments would be set by Ofcom, and designed to reflect the degree of harm suffered by consumers. Here is how Ofcom’s automatic compensation scheme would work:

We estimate that our plans would mean up to 2.6 million additional customers could receive up to £185m in new compensation payments each year. Currently, there are 7.2m instances where landline or broadband customers suffer delayed repairs, missed appointments or delays to new installations. Financial compensation from companies, totalling around £16.3m, is currently paid out in 1.1m of these cases.

Around one-third of small and medium-sized enterprises choose residential landline and broadband services and would also benefit from our compensation proposals.

We are consulting until 5th June and plan to publish a statement at the end of the year”.

With best wishes

Helen

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One Comment

  1. Antisthenes
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    On the face of it another good intention only to be abused in the practice. Adding more red tape and another set of state sponsored victims. It will be the customers that in the end will pay the additional cost to the company. There is already a safeguard against bad practices customers ability to move from bad to better provider and the regulator(there to protect customers from their own stupidity). Not perfect by any means but in the private sector as long as there is sufficient competition eventually works.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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