Urgent warning for Brits as little-known broadband rule could see you slapped with £110 fine | The Sun

BROADBAND users have been warned they could face a penalty of up to £110 if they make a common mistake.

Charges could be imposed if a household asks for an engineer to visit but when they do not answer the door when the person arrives.

The fees have been dubbed a “doorbell tax” by angry Brits faced with the penalty.

A number of broadband providers are now charging customers who miss an engineer appointment or simply don't hear the doorbell ring.

TalkTalk’s fee is up to £65, while both Sky and Virgin charge £25.

And Vodafone could impose a hefty sum of £110.

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Households can get compensation if an engineer misses an appointment, but this is often just a fraction of what you could be charged for missing one yourself.

If an engineer is called out to no avail, the amount you can be charged varies depending on your supplier.

Many firms will pay £26.24 for each missed appointment, or for appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice.

If you change provider and there's a delay to your new service starting you should get £5.25 a day.

And if you suffer an outage, you should get £8.40 if it's not fixed for two full working days after you report it.

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But now providers have turned the tables on customers and started charging them for missed appointments.

A spokesperson for Vodafone told The Sun Online: “Although we reserve the right to charge customers if they miss an engineer appointment Vodafone does not currently charge.

“We continuously review our policies to help our customers avoid missed appointments.”

Its price plan document, dated May 6, 2022, states on page 12 it charges £110 for a “missed engineer appointment charge”.

When questioned on this point, the company said “We don’t request any payment from the customer currently.”

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “Unlike many other providers, all our customers benefit from service and repairs at no extra cost – even if we need to send out an engineer.

“Charges for missed appointments are common across the industry to ensure we best serve all customers and we’re proud that our charges are amongst the lowest in the market.”

The Sun Online has also approached TalkTalk and Sky for comment.

Emma Robinson, 42, from Surrey, who is a Virgin Media customer, told The Sunday Mirror: “I have two young children and it’s not unusual for me to fail to hear the doorbell ring if I am upstairs giving my baby a bath.

“Now Virgin wants to fine me for not answering my door when they rarely pick up the phone themselves and offer some of the worst customer service on the market. Unbelievable.”

Martyn James, from the complaints handling group Resolver, said: “Anyone who has spent ages trying to get an appointment for a fault – or has waited at home till the evening with no knock on the door – will be outraged that a missed appointment could result in a charge.

“The broadband industry has a pretty terrible reputation for missed appointments, service and sorting complaints. Until the sector has its house in order, it shouldn’t be charging extra for anything – including missed appointments and exit fees.”

Can I get compensation for a missed appointment?

Many firms are signed up to an automatic compensation scheme set up by telecoms regulator Ofcom.

The full list of firms which belong to the scheme are:

  • BT
  • EE
  • Hyperoptic
  • Plusnet (including John Lewis Broadband)
  • Sky (including Now Broadband)
  • TalkTalk
  • Utility Warehouse
  • Virgin Media
  • Vodafone (customers on Openreach network only)
  • Zen Internet

Under the scheme, you'll get £26.24 per missed appointment if your engineer does not turn up or cancels with less than 24 hours' notice.

Delays to the start of a new service are £5.25 a day, and delayed repair following loss of a service are £8.40 a day.

The compensation amounts increase each year in line with inflation.

To be eligible for compensation you should just need to report the problem to your provider, and it will pay out automatically.

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Ofgem says compensation should be paid out within 30 calendar days of your reporting the issue.

It's usually applied as a credit on your bill.

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