One in three customers are left without broadband services when moving home, according to new research by Citizens Advice.
The survey suggests one third of customers face painful delays with some being forced to wait more than two weeks before they can get internet in their new house.
Many other customers have also complained about waiting multiple days for an engineer to arrive.
Some customers report missing work or having to cancel other engagements while they wait at home.
15% of customers surveyed said they receive slow or intermittent connections, while a further 20% report delayed or rescheduled appointments when engineers failed to turn up.
Delayed or poor connection can cause all manner of problems for customers, which only exacerbates the difficulty of moving house.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens’ Advice, described the situation as “fundamentally unfair”.
“Moving house can be a difficult and stressful experience,” she added, “and delays in getting broadband can only make this worse if providers fail to keep promised dates or engineering visits don’t materialise.”
Some customers are therefore left unable to update address details for bills without a working connection.
Others have even been ordered to pay exit fees, sometimes worth hundreds of pounds, when deciding to move to another provider because of shoddy or nonexistent service.
The problems don’t end there. A survey commissioned by YouGov said 8% of people moving house received a router that didn’t work, and a further 5% never got one at all.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has been urged to implement a plan to force suppliers to compensate customers who fall foul of poor service.
The automatic compensation scheme would work in the same way as for utility companies, who offer a rebate on bills when things don’t go to plan.
Telecoms companies have also suggested their own voluntary scheme, which would offer customers smaller payouts than under Ofcom’s plans.
Many larger broadband suppliers have already signed up to the proposed voluntary system, with the notable exception of TalkTalk, who were accused by BT of throwing a spanner in the works.
At present, customers are able to make complaints about poor service, but are not guaranteed restitution when things go awry.