Friday, 10 November 2017

Automatic Compensation for Broadband faults

OFCOM consulted on this earlier in the year and we raised a number of concerns over it - not the principle, which is sound, but the implementation. One of our main suggestions was that it would be simple if Openreach paid out automatically for the specific issues covered, and carriers and ISPs simply passed this on.

Well, in a round about way, it seems that may be what we can now do. OFCOM just published their decision (here). It mentions our response quite a lot. It outlines an industry scheme run by BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and Zen Internet to pay out £8 for a day service is not repaired (total loss of service), £25 for missed appointment, and £5 per day for delayed installation.


We know there is work going on with Openreach to manage the interface (XML B2B stuff) to allow this whole process to work. We are asking our carriers today (BT Wholesale and Talk Talk Business) to confirm they will pass on what they get from Openreach.

Whilst AAISP are definitely not part of this scheme, we are more than happy to have Openreach work out that they have delayed a repair, missed an appointment, or delayed an install, and either directly, or via wholesale carriers, send us the compensation and we will pass on to end users. We'll need to work on the interface to make that work, but hopefully that will not be too hard. Assuming the carriers pass it on, and we can automate it, we will simply add a credit note on to the customer account, which if paid by Direct Debit and it makes the account in credit, will mean an automatic BACS refund of actual money to the customer within a few days.

Even so, the OFCOM response does have some oddities - such as no compulsion on wholesale and back-haul carriers to pass on compensation at all! We'll see what they say.

P.S. Of course we also hope this will mean Openreach improve services so as to avoid having to pay compensation anyway, and this will be of benefit to all ISPs and customers, not just those in the scheme.

5 comments:

  1. So for a missed appointment BT will pay £25 (in many cases for a day taken off work) but if the customer misses the appointment BT charge something like £99 IIRC? Remind me what planet OFCOM lives on?

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    1. Oh, I agree. What BT charge is for wasting maybe 15 mins of engineer time, but what they pay is often for a whole day, or at least half a day, off work. Madness.

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  2. It also doesn't stop an engineer calling and saying you were not when you were even where there is evidence visible on on CCTV.

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  3. I'm hugely confused as I was pretty certain ISPs got paid compo for missed appointments already - they just didn't pass it on to the end-user.

    Maybe ISPs had to "claim" the compo but I know when I kicked up a fuss with Sky (I beta-tested their crap) about an appointment being missed I got £25 off the next bill. IIRC Mr Saffron over on TBB said that was what Sky got paid by Openreach for each failed appointment.

    Oh and yes I agree with JJ - its clearly an unfair (consumer) contract and the only reason BT hasn't been taken to the cleaners for it is because of the obfuscation of resposibilities/revenue/costs within BT Group.

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  4. Getting my first two months VDSL for free this way would have been nice! (Back when I first ordered it, two guys from you-know-who turned up with the wrong paperwork and had to fail the install - Wholesale diagnosed and confirmed the XML issue by phone, but "couldn't" correct the error with Openreach past PONR - so they tried to re-raise the order for the next day, but somehow failed to assign an engineer to the job. Third time lucky: a more seasoned Openreach guy who didn't bother checking XML minutiae, just installed the VDSL circuit as requested.)

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