Ofcom call for inputs on automatic compensationCharles Wood
Ofcom has today published its consultation on automatic compensation for consumers and smaller businesses who experience disruption to daily activities caused by problems with their communications services. Before publishing a detailed consultation on the system, Ofcom is gathering initial views on the scope, form, process, level of compensation and also possible risks of introducing new measures.
Before featuring in the proposed Digital Economy Bill, the principle of automatic compensation was outlined in the initial conclusions from the UK Digital Communications Review. Ofcom emphasised the need to provide consumers with a significantly better quality of service. Introducing new rules on automatic compensation when consumers experience problems was identified as one measure for Ofcom to take action on. Ofcom research identified a lack of awareness among consumers about compensation where it is available. The aim of the automatic compensation system would be to provide consumers with easier redress, potentially for a range of service quality problems, while also incentivising providers to deliver higher standards.
It is worth noting that these new measures would only impact a small proportion of consumers and businesses. As Ofcom stated in its consultation document, the vast majority (80% of fixed line, broadband and mobile consumers) are satisfied with their services and typically consumers consider that their services are working as expected.
The consultation will close on 22 July 2016. Ofcom will then publish a detailed consultation towards the end of the year and potentially a timeframe for implementation in the autumn of 2017.