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Oh Dear, O2 – As Outage Hits Day 2 Can I Get Compensation?

July 12th, 2012 by Caroline

If you’re one of the thousands of O2 customers hit by the blackout which began at lunchtime yesterday, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to compensation.

Well, the answer seems to be: possibly.

As the network failure is so recent, indeed it is still affecting some customers, it’s unlikely that O2 has had time to figure out its customer compensation plans. The network issue only began at lunchtime yesterday, but given the number of people who’ve been affected by the problem O2 may choose to offer all customers compensation or at least those it is able to confirm as having been impacted by the outage.

BlackBerry users experienced a similar outage last October, and as a result customers were offered £63 worth of apps for free as compensation.

However, some O2 customers may wish to leave the network as a result of the blackout – price comparison website Kelkoo found that when BlackBerry’s blackout struck at the end of 2011, nearly half of BlackBerry’s existing customers said they would consider switching either immediately or when their mobile phone contracts ended.

It is unknown and greatly debated, at what point a mobile phone contract is made void in circumstances like this one, and some O2 customers have asked the question on Twitter about whether the recent network failure means they can leave their contracts penalty-free. While there is no straightforward answer, it’s worth keeping in mind what an Orange spokesman said, following a landmark ruling in 2009 about mobile phone reception: “As with all mobile operators, it is worth noting that continuous network coverage cannot be guaranteed and network coverage can be affected by factors outside of our control.”

Communications regulator Ofcom advises customers who “believe you’ve been poorly treated by your phone company” and “may feel you deserve some compensation,” to do the following: “The first step is to raise your problem with them and see if you can reach an agreement. If you can’t, you should then follow their complaints procedure.”

In addition, as O2 is a member of the Ombudsman Service: Communications, customers have another means of trying to resolve their complaints if they remain unhappy with the network.

Since yesterday, many on the O2 network have been unable to make calls, send messages or use data – and the outage continues for a second day for some.

The network has pledged that its “priority is getting our customers back up and running”.

As at 11am this morning, BBC reports that the O2 2G network has been restored and customers should be able to make and receive calls but it is still working on its 3G network.

In a statement, O2 said: “We can confirm that our 2G network service has now been restored. Customers who were affected should now be able to make and receive calls. Our 3G service is starting to restore and customers should expect to see a gradual return of data services as the day progresses.”

Have you been affected by the outage?

[Via: The Telegraph]

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