BlackBerry outage triggers lawsuits
SAN FRANCISCO: Research In Motion is being sued in the United States and on its home turf in Canada for a BlackBerry service outage that affected millions of people worldwide.
The lawsuits seek class action status to represent all BlackBerry users in the respective countries and call for RIM to pay unspecified cash damages.
RIM’s network services for the popular smartphone were down intermittently for up to three days early this month in western Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North and South America.
RIM blamed the failure of a “core switch” at a facility in Europe as well as a backup mechanism for the initial problem, knocking out emails and messaging for users.
The problems cascaded as emails backed up at the company’s server hubs.
RIM has set out to make amends with customers by offering $100 worth of premium applications such as games and hands-free operating programs, but the lawsuits contend the firm should be made to pay instead.
“The petitioner expected to be compensated for the loss of services to which he was paying a monthly fee for,” said filings to a Quebec court by the Consumer Law Group firm on behalf of a Canadian man.
“Instead, he was disappointed to learn that RIM was only offering some free App downloads that he does not want or need,” the filing continued.
The court document went on to calculate the man’s financial loss as CAN$1.25 based on his monthly BlackBerry service data plan fee of $25.
A suit filed in US federal court in Southern California on Wednesday accused RIM of negligence, unjust enrichment and breach of contract.
The lawsuits come as RIM defends against fierce competition from iPhones and Android-powered smartphones in the coveted mobile market.