Internet Outage Compensation: A Guide for European Consumers

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Internet Outage Compensation coming soon for Belgian consumers.

Internet Outage Compensation

In the fast-paced digital age, a reliable internet connection is no longer a luxury but a necessity. However, when disruptions occur, consumers across Europe now have the opportunity to seek compensation for the inconvenience caused. This article explores the compensation schemes implemented in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and the promising developments in Belgium.


Internet Outage Compensation in The Netherlands

If the Internet outage is for more than 12 hours and is not the result of your equipment, you are entitled to compensation. The amount varies with the length of the outage. If the outage is for between 12 and 24 hours, you are entitled to compensation for the subscription cost for one day. If the outage continues for more than 24 hours, you are entitled to compensation equal to the subscription cost for one day for every day that the outage continues. There is no limit to the number of days you can receive compensation. If you can not resolve your issue with your operator, you have a right to complain to the regulator: https://www.consuwijzer.nl/doe-uw-melding-bij-acm-consuwijzer

Source: Ik heb te maken met een internet- of telefoonstoring. Wat zijn mijn rechten? | ACM ConsuWijzer


Internet compensation in Spain

Compensation procedure: the operator will be obliged to automatically compensate the subscriber in the invoice corresponding to the following period when the service interruption is greater than six hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The corresponding invoice will state the date, duration and calculation of the amount of compensation corresponding to the subscriber.

Source: https://usuariosteleco.mineco.gob.es/te-interesa/consejos-practicos/Paginas/interrupciones-servicio.aspx


The Belgian Internet Outage proposal

In the future, people affected by internet outages can request financial compensation, according to a bill by Telecommunications Minister Petra De Sutter (Groen), approved by the Council of Ministers.

According to Minister De Sutter, the number of complaints about internet outages has already doubled compared to last year. “At the end of November this year, the Telecom Ombudsman recorded 3,468 complaints, compared to 1,685 for the whole of 2022. The minister pointed out that telecommunications prices were not cheap in Belgium. “If there is a breakdown, compensation is the least operators can do for their customers,” she said. 

Likely, the number of complaints made to operators is just the tip of the iceberg. Many people will not take the time to lodge an official complaint if an outage has already disrupted their day.

There is help on the horizon. Belgian consumers will soon join the other European countries that offer compensation for Internet outages.

To benefit from compensation, total outages must last more than eight hours.

Three compensation options

Three compensation options are possible. This could be compensation of one euro for the first day of the breakdown. This amount increases as soon as the outage lasts several days. It can also be compensation of one-thirtieth of the cost of the monthly subscription, like in the Netherlands, or free films, for example,” said Ms De Sutter. The operator must inform the injured party of the possibilities for compensation. This is a form of automatic compensation. The consumer does not have to do anything.

Even though the Minister says that Belgian Internet subscriptions are expensive, they are still incredibly cheap compared to the value of our time, especially if we are reliant on our home broadband connection to work from home. In a country like Belgium, hourly labour costs average €45 per hour. Compensation of €1 after 8 hours of disruption does not seem sufficient.


The UK Internet Outage scheme

The UK Internet Outage scheme is voluntary, but thankfully, almost all of the major operators have opted in. 

There are three ways in which you can be entitled to compensation:

  • Delay to repairs following a loss of service.
  • Missed appointments.
  • Delays with the start of a new broadband and/or landline connection.

Delay to repairs following a loss of service. You are only entitled to compensation after two full working days. For example, if you report a loss of service on Tuesday, you will only be entitled to compensation if your Internet is still not working after 23:59 hours on Thursday. As a rule of thumb, most faults are resolved within 48 hours anyway. You need to report a loss of service. You will not receive automatic compensation. If, after two business days, you still do not have access to the Internet, you are entitled to £9.33 per calendar day. Given the cost of Internet access in the UK, £9.33 per day roughly equates to the cost of Internet access for those lost days.

Missed appointments: You are entitled to compensation if you wait in for an engineer appointment and they do not show up or if you are given less than 24 hours notice when an appointment is cancelled by your provider or one of their engineers. Compensation of £29.15 for missed appointments is made automatically. 

Delays to the start of a new broadband and/or landline connection. If your operator promises your new broadband service will start on a specific date and they fail to do so, you will be entitled to compensation. This will happen automatically without you needing to take any further action. If your provider does not provide service by 23:59 hours on your appointment day, you will be entitled to £ 5.83 per day until your service has been activated.


Conclusion

Internet outage compensation has become the norm across Europe. While compensation schemes aim to mitigate the impact, proactive measures like Ottie offer protection against extended outages. If you’re concerned about internet outages, contact us to safeguard your connectivity today.

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