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Broadband compensation: Can you get money for your internet outages?

It can be very frustrating when your internet goes down for days at a time. It can also be a hassle if you move house or switch providers and your broadband isn’t connected when agreed. Many of the leading UK broadband providers offer compensation if your outage is their fault. The credit is automatically added to your account.

man looking concerned at his laptop during a broadband outage

Ofcom has an automatic compensation scheme, allowing customers to receive credit on their account if something goes wrong with their broadband. Because the credit is paid automatically, customers do not have to do anything to receive the compensation. 

The Ofcom automatic compensation scheme was introduced in April 2019 and revised in April 2021. 

Typically, there are three broadband outage scenarios you can be compensated for:

Situation Details Compensation amount
Delayed repair following loss of service
"If your service has stopped working and isn’t fully fixed after two working days, you will get compensation."
"You get an initial £9.76 for those two days. , ,Plus, for each full calendar day your service isn’t repaired you’ll get £9.33."
Missed appointment
If an engineer doesn’t turn up for an appointment or cancels with less than 24 hours’ notice.
"You’ll get £30.49 per missed appointment. , ,This doesn’t apply if you’re the cause of the missed appointment."
Delay to the start of your service
"If your provider has promised a particular start date for your service and fails to stick to it, you’ll be automatically compensated."
"For each full calendar day of delay, including the missed start date, you’ll get £6.10."

Table showing the automatic compensation awarded across three scenarios.

Compensation amounts increase annually in line with inflation. The increase begins on 1st April every year. The increase is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 31st October the previous year. The payment increase only applies to new issues that occur after 1st April.

A total loss of service is when your entire broadband service has been down for at least 24 hours. Compensation for no internet is offered by many of the main providers.

Broadband outages: What to do when your broadband goes down.

The Ofcom automatic compensation scheme is voluntary. These broadband providers have chosen to sign up to the scheme. More providers may join in the future. 

  • BT (joined April 2019)
  • EE (joined May 2021)
  • Hyperoptic (joined October 2019)
  • Plusnet (joined May 2022)
  • Sky, including NOW Broadband (joined April 2019)
  • TalkTalk - restrictions apply for customers not on the Openreach network (joined April 2019)
  • Utility Warehouse (joined February 2020)
  • Virgin Media (joined April 2019)
  • Vodafone, restrictions apply for customers not on the CityFibre network (joined November 2021)
  • Zen Internet (joined April 2019) 

When you should receive your automatic broadband outage compensation:

No later than 30 calendar days after the scheduled appointment

Broadband outage issue When you should receive your compensation
Delay to new service
No later than 30 calendar days after the issue is resolved (or the service is cancelled)
Loss of broadband
No later than 30 calendar days after the issue is resolved (or the service is cancelled)
Missed engineer appointment
No later than 30 calendar days after the scheduled appointment

Table showing when automatic compensation will be paid for broadband outage issues.

Broadband outage compensation will show as a credit on your bill unless you’ve agreed otherwise with your provider. The credit will appear on your account within 30 days but may not show on your bill until a later date. 

Your provider can offer you an alternative form of compensation instead of account credit. This must be of the same or higher value, and they must tell you what you could receive as account credit.

There are a few circumstances where you would not be eligible for broadband outage compensation:

  • If the loss of service is due to equipment or activity in your home  
  • If you breach your contract, caused the failure or prevented the issue being resolved. For example, if you ask for a later engineer appointment than the one offered and this delays repairs, you won’t receive compensation

After 30 days of compensation payments, your broadband provider can tell you they will stop payments after a further 30 days. After this, they need to provide you with a suitable alternative service. If they can’t, you are still entitled to the automatic compensation payments. 

In most cases, providers must pay automatic compensation for circumstances outside your control, including extreme weather and strikes, for example. There may be exceptions to this. If your internet provider does claim an exception, they need to clearly communicate their reasons and continue to act in your best interests.

If your provider is not paying you automatic compensation and you’re still without broadband, you won’t be charged for the service. 

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