Compensation: when can you claim?

7 min read
August 27, 2021

The battle cry of claiming compensation when something has gone wrong may seem like a last resort to some or a step too far for others who simply want to get their issue sorted with their provider.

But there are some situations where you’re legally entitled to claim compensation if a service has gone wrong – and in some of these cases this should be automatic. Here’s a rundown of what you can claim compensation for – and when. You may be surprised by what’s on offer if you have issues with companies. 

Energy switching problems

This is one of the most overlooked areas where you are entitled to compensation should you have problems – in fact research by Resolver earlier this showed that eight in 10 of our respondents did not know they were entitled to payments if their switch went wrong,

The compensation you’re entitled to is set out in rules by energy regulator Ofgem, and in many cases should be automatically given to you if you are entitled. The golden amount is £30 but this applies to each of the following situations should you experience problems for what is touted as a hassle-free experience:

  • If the switch is not complete within fifteen working days, you can claim £30 from your new supplier;
  • If you do not receive your final bill within six weeks of switching, you can claim £30 from your previous supplier;
  • If you do not receive the credit balance (if you are due one) within 10 days of a final bill being issued you can claim £30 from your previous supplier;
  • If you’re switched by mistake or have had errors in your switch, you can claim £30 from the supplier in question.

​​Faulty meters

 It’s not always obvious if your meter is faulty, but look for messages on the display such as:

  • Battery;
  • Error;
  • Call help;
  • Or just a blank, flashing or intermittent display.

If any of these circumstances apply the supplier must send someone out to repair or replace the meter (or sort it out remotely) within:

  • Three hours on a working day (Monday to Friday except bank holidays);
  • Four hours on a non-working day.

If your supplier doesn’t do this within these timeframes it must pay you £30 compensation within 10 working days. In addition, if it doesn’t pay this on time it has to pay an extra £30 for the delay.

Power cuts

This is rarer for the majority of us but there are some circumstances where you can claim compensation if you’ve had a power cut. It’s important to note that your energy supplier is not responsible for power cuts and in fact this sits with your distribution network operator (DNO) or gas transporter – the organisations responsible for the UK’s energy networks.

First off, you will only be able to make a claim if the fault lies with network operators and not because of works to your property that you organised. 

For a ‘planned outage’ a claim will apply if your network operator has not given you at least two days’ notice (five days for gas) and you must make the claim within 30 days of this happening. You’d be entitled to £30 (electricity) or £20 (gas) if this is the case.

For unplanned power cuts, how much you will be entitled to depends on how many households were affected and how long the outage was for. 

In the case of electricity, most claims are applicable if the power was cut for more than 12 hours. If more than 5,000 households were affected there is a cap on the compensation you will receive, similarly if the power cut was due to a storm or other adverse conditions. For gas outages, claims are typically made after a loss of service of 24 hours.

To make a claim you’ll need to contact your network operators. For gas you can find out who this by contacting the Meter Point Administration Service on Find My Supplier tool  or by calling 0870 608 1524. You can use a postcode search for your electricity DNO here.

Water worries

You may be entitled to compensation automatically if your water supply is interrupted. Under regulator Ofwat’s guaranteed standards scheme, water companies must ensure that water pressure is right, appointments to fix issues are kept and ultimately deal with supply interruptions.

Some compensation is paid to you automatically, meaning you’ll either receive a payment directly or a credit on your water bill. For other situations, you may have to make a claim.

For example if your supplier misses an appointment to fix any interruption, you’ll be entitled to £20 within 10 days of the missed appointment, If this isn’t paid on time you can claim an extra £10. This is also the case if your appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.

You may also get compensation regardless of whether the interruption to your water was planned or unplanned. For planned interruptions of more than four hours for, for example, known repairs, you must be told that your water supply will be interrupted at least 48 hours beforehand – if this doesn’t happen you’ll typically be entitled to £20. You’re also likely to get £20 if the supply isn’t restored by the time specified.

If your water gets cut off in an emergency situation your water company has to fix it within 12 hours of knowing about it (a strategic mains pipe burst can take up to 48 hours though). If it doesn’t, you should get £20 for the first 24 hours of your supply being interrupted, and another £20 for each 24 hour period after that. 

In all these cases, if these payments aren’t made to you within 20 working days, you should be entitled to another £20. 

Broadband issues

If you’re lucky enough to be using a service supplied by one of the broadband providers signed up to telecom regulator Ofcom’s Automatic Compensation Scheme, then you will be able to get compensation when things go wrong without having to ask for it.

If your service stops working and is not fully fixed after two working days, you will simply need to report the fault to the supplier and compensation of £8.06 per day of loss of service will be applied.

For missed engineer appointments (they simply don’t turn up or cancel less than 24 hours before they’re due), you‘ll get £25.18 per missed appointment. If you’ve signed up to a new broadband service and you don’t get it on the day you’re promised, you’ll receive £5.04 for each day of the delay. In each of these cases you shouldn’t need to take any action and compensation should automatically be awarded to you.

Train travel

If your train journey has been delayed or cancelled then for most rail operators you can use Delay Repay – a national scheme intended to make it easier for you to claim for delayed journeys. How much you are entitled to depends on the train operator you are travelling with, whether you have a single or return ticket and the length of the delay, but in almost all cases, you can claim regardless of what caused the delay. 

You’ll usually need to make your claim within 28 days of the delayed journey and be able to send photos of your tickets as evidence.

If your train operator’s faults have meant that the service provided falls significantly below your expectations and you have incurred a financial loss as a result, you can use the Consumer Credit Act to make a claim. You’d have to be able to prove that the train operator caused the problem (so for example, delays due to adverse weather conditions are unlikely to apply here).

Examples of claims can include having to make alternative arrangements at a cost to get to your destination or missing connections as a result of delays.

Flight delays and cancellations

If you’ve travelled  on a delayed flight anytime in the past six years (so from 2015) there is a chance that you’re eligible for compensation. This is likely if you’ve suffered delays on flights:

  • Of more than three hours for short haul or more than 4 hours for long haul (3,500km+);
  • With no extreme circumstances causing the delay, such as weather, a pandemic or political instability; and
  • Operated by EU-based airlines. If your flight is operated by a non EU-based airline, you may still be able to claim, but only for flights leaving or arriving in the EU that are more than 3,500km in distance.

The difference to UK consumers post-Brexit is that compensation will now be paid in pounds sterling rather than euro if their claim is successful. Depending on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay, your compensation could be worth between £220 and £520 per passenger. With Resolver’s Flight Compensation Tool, if your flight took place from 26 November 2019, you can quickly check if you are eligible for compensation before you attempt a claim. 

Be aware that if your flight is actually cancelled, you are automatically entitled to a refund of its cost, regardless of any compensation claims. 

But if your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before it was scheduled and a replacement flight delays your arrival to your destination by more than two hours you can additionally make a claim for compensation. This does however only apply if the cancellation was the airline’s responsibility. 

Is your compensation claim not happening? Raise a complaint for free using Resolver

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