Households that suffer outages of broadband and landlines will get money back from their providers thanks to new rules from the regulator.
The scheme could see millions of pounds of refunds made to customers as the regulator Ofcom has pushed providers representing 50% of the market into agreeing the measures.
Ofcom says there are around 7.2 million cases each year that could benefit from the new compensation scheme.
Customers will not need to ask or apply for compensation. If a fault happens and the service is not restored in sufficient time, refunds will be made automatically.
Customers will receive refunds in the following circumstances:
Delayed repair following loss of service – if the service is not fully fixed after two full working days, the customer will receive £8 each day that the service is not repaired.
Missed appointments – customers will be given £25 each time an engineer fails to show up for a scheduled appointment, or it is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Delays to start of a new service – if a provider promises to begin a new service provision on a certain date and fails to do so, the customer will receive £5 for every calendar day it is delayed, including the missed start date.
BT, Sky TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have already agreed to the scheme and will compensate customers from today.
Customers from Hyperoptic and Vodafone, which have agreed to join but are yet to do so, will have to wait until later in the year.
EE has agreed new terms and is expected to join the scheme next year.
Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, says: “We think it’s unacceptable that people should be kept waiting for a new line, or a fault to be fixed.
“These new protections mean phone and broadband firms will want to avoid problems occurring in the first place. But if they fall short, customers must be treated fairly and given money back, without having to ask for it.”
The regulator has also announced the entry into force of a new cap on the cost of 118 directory enquiry calls.