RIM Faces Lawsuits Over Blackberry Outage


Blackberry customers in the US and Canada are suing Research in Motion over the recent global outage which left millions without email, instant messaging and net access.

A Canadian lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, was brought on behalf of all Blackberry owners in the country, and accuses RIM of breach of contract.

A similar complaint has been filed in the US.

RIM has, however, claimsed that it “had not been served with a complaint at this time”.

“RIM will formally respond to the matter in due course,” a statement from the firm read.

The lawsuit claims that RIM “is responsible for Blackberry users’ loss of email, BB, and/or internet service for approximately one and a half days”.

“It has not compensated consumers on a prorated basis for such loss of use, while knowing full well that Blackberry users pay a monthly fee to their wireless service providers for data services and that they were deprived thereof.”

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The outage, caused by a system failure, and compounded by the failure of its back-up system, began on October 10 and lasted four days.

Malik Saadi, principal analyst with Informa Telecom & Media, thinks action suits like these could be just the beginning.

“If the consumer forums get involved they could mobilise individuals into seeking compensation and there will be a snowball effect,” he said.

Informa has estimated that RIM could find itself faced with a $25million (£16million) compensation bill.

“That is not big money compared to revenues. The biggest damage is to its brand and that could take years to cure. If I was RIM I would just compensate users quickly,” said Mr Saadi.

So far, no operators have pursued compensation from RIM and Mr Saadi thinks it is “unlikely” any will. However, some have suggested they will offer their own packages to customers. “In the Middle East, two operators are talking about compensating customers although there are no details about how it will work,” he said

—Henry Ojelu

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