Telecommunications customers around the world have been suffering from poor services. However, under the scheme proposed by the UK telecom regulator Ofcom, broadband and landline customers who suffered from poor service have received £20.7 m in compensation payments between July and December 2019, according to The Guardian.
Companies automatically pay out £8 for each day a service is not repaired, £5 a day for the delay to a new installation, and £25 each time an engineer misses an appointment. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Zen Internet, Hyperoptic, and Utility Warehouse are currently part of the voluntary scheme. However, EE, Plusnet, O2, and Vodafone have not yet signed up to the scheme.
In 2017, Ofcom proposed a scheme designed to make UK telecom companies do a better job. Under this scheme, 2.6 million customers could benefit from compensation paid by telecom providers for slow repairs, missed deadlines and appointments.
Introduced in April last year, the scheme would oblige telecom providers to improve their services. Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director said, “We’re 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”, according to The Guardian.
The provider was requested to pay £10 a-day compensation if a broadband connection or landline was not fully fixed after two working days. In addition, a compensation of £30 was required if an engineer did not show up for an appointment or canceled without giving 24 hours notice. Lastly, if the provider failed to start a service on the agreed date, an amount of £6 for each day of delays would be paid.
Ofcom has settled an annual compensation of £185 m. “Compensation payments are currently given-ad-hoc to only a minority of those suffering problems [up to 15% of cases], and can fail to adequately reflect the harm caused”, according to the UK’s communications regulator.
On August 21, 2020, Ofcom published its report on how companies performed until January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, according to the regulator’s website. The report entitled “Comparing customer service: mobile, home broadband and landline” states that TalkTalk has been named as the worst company while Tesco mobile secured a top position in the mobile satisfaction rankings. The report shows that 85% of broadband customers say they are satisfied with their service.
“Our research helps people to easily compare how providers perform on customer service, so they can choose the one that’s best for them”, said Lindsey Fussell, according to Ofcom’s website.
Complaints will (most likely) increase this year as customers are relying on their broadband and mobile connections to work from home amid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.