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Ofcom rules Virgin Media must increase compensation for poor service

# Nov 10, 11:33 AM by Cable Forum

Virgin Media and other Telecom companies that offer Broadband and landline services, their customers are to get money back from their providers when things go wrong, without having to claim it. Following Ofcom’s intervention, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet – who together serve around 90% of landline and broadband customers in the UK – have agreed to introduce automatic compensation.

From the Ofcom review: “At present, compensation is paid out in around one in seven cases (15%) of landline or broadband customers suffering slow repairs, delayed installations or missed engineer appointments; and even then, only in small amounts.

Launching the first ever automatic compensation scheme for telecoms customers will be complex, and require significant changes to providers’ billing systems, online accounts and call centres. So there will be a 15-month implementation period before it comes into effect to ensure a smooth introduction. Consumers currently experiencing problems can find advice on Ofcom’s website on what to do if they are unhappy with the service they receive.”

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said:

“Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation.

So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up. People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

While this is at face value, seems a good move as it encourages these companies to get their act together and right the first time. However, money does not grow on trees so if the ‘compensation’ budget increases, the money has to come from somewhere, and that can only mean potential price increases further down the line for customers.

You can read the full Ofcom Press release by clicking here.

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