BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have all signed up to provide UK customers with automatic compensation for problems with fixed line broadband and telephony services.

Regulator Ofcom said the four providers, who together deliver around 90 percent of the services in the country, would credit customers without them having to ask.

The move follows a consultation Ofcom launched in March and will focus on three areas.

For every day that a service is not repaired after two working days, providers will have to pay £8 per customer.

For every engineer that does not turn up to a scheduled appointment, or who cancels one with less than 24 hours' notice, the cost will be £25 per appointment.

Finally, delays to implementing a new service will lead to fines of £5 per day from the promised start date.

Currently, compensation is paid out in just 15 percent of cases landline or broadband customers suffering slow repairs, delayed installations or missed engineer appointments, the regulator said.

Ofcom projected customers are set for £142 million in payouts – around nine times the current level - once the regulation comes into force.

There will be a 15-month implementation period before this happens given it is “complex” and requires “significant changes to providers’ billing systems, online accounts and call centres”, Ofcom said.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation.

“So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up.

“People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

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