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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 4 Mar 2021

What can I do if my broadband installation takes too long or causes damage?

If you’re not happy with your broadband installation - whether the engineer damaged your property or it’s taking far too long, find out how to get it sorted.
Which?Editorial team

My broadband installation is taking too long

When buying your broadband service, make sure you ask your provider how long it will take to install. Double-check what you’re told with its codes of practice on its website - usually it'll be around two weeks.

If it takes longer than the time promised, you can make a complaint.

If you also need a phone line installed and are using a different provider and that’s the one which is dragging their feet, contact that company to complain. 

Your phone line and broadband providers should be able to work it out amongst themselves.

Can I cancel my contract before it's installed?

The cooling off period starts when you get written confirmation after you signed up online or over the phone.

From that moment, you have 14 days to cancel without penalty for whatever reason, including if it’s taking too long for your broadband to be installed.

If it takes longer than the cooling off period for it to be installed you still have rights under the Consumer Rights Act (CRA).

That says a service should be performed within a reasonable time - even if there was no specific length of time written in the contract about how long it would take to install.

So if it’s taking longer than you think is reasonable, you can ask for a price reduction, which is one of the remedies specified under the CRA.

If nothing happens, you may be able to cancel the contract because your supplier hasn’t met their end of the agreement.

I took days off work and the engineer missed the appointment

If you arranged to be at home, but the engineer or tradesperson didn’t show up, in some cases you can recover something for the wasted time.

BT offers a one-off payment of £10 if it fails to keep an appointment but we weren’t able to find any other examples of this at other providers.

But you can certainly make a complaint to your company.  

In addition, the CRA requires a service to be performed within a reasonable time, so if the missed appointment means installation is taking longer than you think is reasonable, you can can ask for a price reduction, which is one of the remedies specified under the CRA.

It’s best to do this in writing - either by email or post - so there’s a physical record. See your provider’s website for contact details.

The engineer damaged my property

According to the CRA, a service should be provided with reasonable care and skill. So if your home or property is damaged during your broadband installation, your provider could be in breach of this requirement.

You should tell the engineer when it happens and also contact your provider as soon as possible. Make sure you take photos of what happened for evidence.

After raising it with them, your provider should then arrange for any repairs to take place. 

We would recommend going to the provider first, but you can also recover any reasonable out of pocket expenses that you had to pay in order to repair the damage.