United Kingdom regulator Ofcom has confirmed that broadband and landline customers will now get automatic compensation from their providers for missed appointments, slow repairs and delayed installations without having to file a claim.
If the service provider's engineer fails to turn up for an appointment - or cancels with less than 24 hours' notice - the customer gets £25 compensation.
It's worth stressing that for a delayed fix 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.
Despite introducing the new compensation charges, the amounts have dropped from original proposals.
Major providers including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet, which account for roughly 90 per cent of the landline and broadband customers in the United Kingdom, have committed to the compensation policy which will see £8 handed back for each calendar day the service is not repaired, £25 compensated for a missed engineer appointment and £5 returned for each day a new service is delayed. "We had already recognised this as an important issue and we are happy to have helped to form a new set of rules which will mean customers can be certain about when they will automatically receive fair compensation in the event that things go wrong".
Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at broadband comparison and advice site Cable.co.uk, said that Ofcom's decision should be viewed as a way to "force providers to spend money improving service-levels across the next 15 months".
The regulator also expects EE and Plusnet to join the scheme in due course.
"Ofcom's Lindsey Fussell said: ".providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don't happen on time, or an engineer doesn't turn up. Despite the fact that many standard business contracts provide compensation for various only 49% of SME's did not know if they were entitled to compensation when service falls short. "Ofcom will closely monitor the industry scheme, and review it one year after being implemented to ensure it's working for consumers".
Automatic compensation is something providers have "agreed" to, insinuating the commitment is voluntary on their part.