If an operator suffers a critical outage, should they refund customers?

On the 28th of March, T-Mobile Netherlands suffered a catastrophic network outage that resulted in millions of users having their phones transformed from communications devices into paperweights. From what I’ve been told, connectivity was offline for most of the business day.

T-Mobile is refusing to offer any compensation citing ‘Force Majeure’.

Now then — should customers get a refund? Or some free text messages? Or, if you’re on a €40 per month contract, should you get €1.30 (i.e. one day’s fee) credited?

Or since these kinds of interruptions are few and far between, should users just suck it up?

I think some type of response is useful, especially if it’s a catastrophic outage that prevents people from doing business. You could even credit everyone 100 free text messages that must be used by the end of the month (knowing full well that most people won’t even bother using them). It’s the thought that counts.

What do you think?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

8 replies on “If an operator suffers a critical outage, should they refund customers?”

That depends if it was really force majeure – it’s a much abused and mis-understood term, but if it really did happen then it’s quite normal for most contracts to exclude it and I don’t see why mobile telecoms should be any different/ However, if it was a technical failure without suitable resilience or fall-back plans then that’s a different matter…

Orange for most of summer lat year had barely any data in the West End for more than an hour or two at a time I assume pre-Tmobile merger. Phoning up and moaning resulted in refund of monthly line fees. After the third month of this I moved to Vodafone preferring data to cash.
No apologies, no attempt to keep me on (spend 100-500 a month).

Users must force this, simply take the appropriate amount off the bill for that month. The day value + business loss etc. So for a full day outage, a – € 20-25 would be appropriate for a lost days work/value. You pay for service for the entire month, not just one day or week. By the operators logic ‘Force Majeure’ could be used next time the bill comes up, lost job or sh*t happens.

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