Six major telecoms firms hitting customers with surcharges for visits – and you risk fees if you don't answer the door | The Sun

MILLIONS of broadband, home phone and TV customers may be unaware that their telecoms provider charges for engineer visits.

Most firms will waive fees for call-outs if the issue is a result of a fault at their end or with their own equipment.

However, all telecom providers charge customers up to £150 for engineer visits if the fault is known to have been caused by the customer.

For example, this could be if you were to have broken a broadband or landline socket or clip through your telephone cable outside.

But, the rate at which firms charge for these call-outs varies considerably.

Some customers could expect a charge as little as £25, but others could be forced to fork out up to £150.

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To add more salt to the wound, firms will also charge customers an extra fee if they miss a booked appointment.

The surcharges have been dubbed a "doorbell tax" by angry Brits faced with the penalty.

These fees range between £25 and £110 and depend entirely on your own telecoms provider.

We've put together a list of how much these fees cost by telecoms firm below.

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If you report a fault, and BT is unable to diagnose the problem remotely, the company might send out an engineer to your property.

This is free of charge if the problem is found to be within its own network.

But if the engineer finds the problem is with your home wiring, your equipment, or its network has been damaged within the boundary of your property other than through fair wear and tear, you will have to pay for the engineer's visit.

This is fixed at £85 per engineer visit and if you're not at home and miss an engineer visit you'll be charged £65.


Like BT, Plusnet charges customers for a call out if a fault is found to be a result of the customer themselves.

This is fixed at £65 per engineer visit and if you're not at home and miss an engineer visit you'll be charged £65.

You could also be hit with the missed appointment charge if you provide the company with an incorrect address or refuse entry to the premises.


Customers with Sky+ or Sky+HD boxes are charged between £0 and £65 for a service call-out.

All visits for Sky Q customers are free of charge however there is a £15 premium visits charge for weekend visits.

If a broadband fault is determined to be external an Openreach engineer is arranged externally with no charge.

If you're not at home and miss an engineer visit you'll be charged £25.


TalkTalk will send a service engineer to carry out checks and fix any issues with your phone, broadband or TV service.

The maximum potential charge for an appointment is £75.

If you're not at home and miss an engineer visit you'll still be charged £75.

Virgin Media

If the need for a technician visit is the result of your own, Virgin Media will charge a fee.

For example, you'll be charged if you request to change the home set-up of your services (for example if you would like your equipment moved to a different location).

You'll be charged £25 per engineer visit and if you're not at home and miss an engineer visit you'll still be charged £25.


Vodafone charges customers for all engineer call-outs and costs range between £115 and £150 depending on the request.

For example, a customer requesting an appointment to investigate a fault within a customer's premises will need to fork out £115 for the first hour and a further £52 per hour after that.

Those in need of a special fault investigation which covers both internal and external wiring will need to pay £150.

And if you miss an engineer's appointment you'll be charged £110.

What if an engineer failed to turn up?

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
  • Plusnet
  • Sky
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
  • Vodafone

Under the scheme, you'll get £29.15 per missed appointment if your engineer does not turn up or cancels with less than 24 hours' notice.

Compensation for delays to the start of a new service is £5.83 a day, and delayed repair following a loss of service is £9.33 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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