Virgin Media leaves thousands without broadband: are customers entitled to compensation?

Tens of thousands of Virgin Media customers were hit by broadband outages yesterday. We explain your rights if your broadband goes down

Ethernet cables connected to a computer network
(Image credit: Getty images)

Around 55,000 Virgin Media customers were hit by broadband outages yesterday and may be wondering if they are entitled to compensation.

Virgin Media is one of 10 broadband providers that is signed up to the Ofcom automatic compensation scheme, which sees some customers qualify for £9.33 for each day their service is disrupted.

But Virgin Media customers will be disappointed to learn they WON’T receive compensation for yesterday’s inconvenience.

The news comes as Virgin Media prepares to increase its prices by 13.8% from April or May.

We explain your rights if your broadband goes down.

Do I get compensation if my broadband goes down?

A total of 10 providers have signed up to Ofcom's automatic compensation scheme, which gives money back to customers from their broadband provider when things go wrong in certain circumstances.

The providers are:

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

The rules outline that compensation is due in the following circumstances:

  • Customers get £9.33 for each day their broadband or landline stops working, and then £9.33 for each day it remains unfixed - but this only applies after two days. It’s why Virgin Media customers who experienced disruption for one day only will not qualify for compensation.
  • Customers get £5.83 for each day there is a delay in setting up a new landline or broadband service. That’s £5.83 for the day it is supposed to be up and running and £5.83 for each subsequent day it is not sorted. There's no limit on this, so you'll keep receiving compensation until it's set up.
  • Customers get £29.15 if an engineer doesn't arrive for an appointment as scheduled, or it's cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice.

As it’s an automatic compensation scheme, broadband and landline customers will get money back from their provider without having to ask for it.

If your landline and broadband both lose service at the same time, you only receive one compensation payment.

The compensation is applied to your bill within 30 working days and appears as a bill credit. 

If you choose to leave your broadband provider while you still have bill credit to spend or before you get it, it will be refunded to you via bank transfer or cheque.

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Katie Binns

Katie is staff writer at The Money Edit. She was the former staff writer at The Times and The Sunday Times. Her experience includes writing about personal finance, culture, travel and interviews celebrities.  Her investigative work on financial abuse resulted in a number of mortgage prisoners being set free - and a nomination for the Best Personal Finance Story of the Year in the Headlinemoney awards 2021.