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Updated: 16 May 2022

'BT left me without internet for two months after moving house, can I get compensation?'

BT taken to task after a loyal customer is left without a connection

Do you have an issue you need to put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted. 

Dear Which?,

I moved home at the start of the year believing that - as a long-time BT customer - switching internet to my new address would be straightforward.

But the first Openreach engineer visit set up was cancelled, without explanation and at short notice. 

This was only the start of a string of delays and cancellations over the next few months, during which time my family and I had no reliable connection.

I must have called BT more than 50 times. Several times BT escalated complaints to Openreach, but this action seems to have had no effect after at least nine failures.

Living in a rural area, not having a reliable internet connection made settling into a new home and accessing essential services tricky.

BT has given me a 4G Mi-Fi hub, but it offers an unreliable connection because mobile signal is poor. It's not straightforward to cancel and choose a new provider because we need an active connection in order to switch.

How can I get connected, and am I due compensation?

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Put to Rights

Lauren Merryweather, Which? consumer rights expert, says...

Most firms, including BT,  have agreed with the regulator Ofcom to pay automatic compensation if your service doesn’t start on the agreed date, or if your engineer appointment is missed – meaning you don’t need to take any action to receive the compensation.

You're entitled to compensation if...
Amount of compensation
Delayed repair following loss of serviceYour service has stopped working and it is not fully fixed after two full working days.£8.40 for each calendar day that the service is not repaired
Missed appointmentsAn engineer does not turn up for a scheduled appointment, or it is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.£26.24 per missed appointment
Delays with the start of a new serviceYour provider promises to start a new service on a particular date, but fails to do so.£5.25 for each calendar day of delay, including the missed start date.

Figures correct at the time of publication.

We contacted BT to ask what was causing the issues and it said: ‘We’re very sorry for the delays in getting Mr Blake’s service up and running. After placing the order for fibre broadband, our suppliers found there was a capacity issue at the local cabinet which took longer to investigate than we’d hoped. We’re working with our suppliers to get this resolved as quickly as possible.

‘We sent a 4G Mi-Fi device late last year to keep him connected and are providing Mr Blake with copper broadband until his fibre can be installed.’

Persistence is usually the most effective tactic to solve ongoing issues with internet providers, but it’s time consuming and stressful if you’re already dealing with the inconvenience of being without a connection.  

If your supplier is repeatedly letting you down you can also make a complaint to Ofcom, which may investigate the provider if it thinks it's failing its customers.

Need to know

  • Ofcom's automatic compensation scheme means you should get money back from your provider when things go wrong, without having to ask for it.
  • Unless you agree otherwise, compensation will be a credit on your bill.
  • All broadband providers have to sign up to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme. Your provider will either be signed up to a scheme operated by CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications.

Get in touch. If you've got a consumer rights problem you need put right email us at yourstory@which.co.uk. 

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