RIM facing class-action lawsuit for BlackBerry service outage

Update: Now in California, too.

Free apps and a heartfelt apology won’t be enough to appease some BlackBerry owners of the massive service outage a few weeks ago. The first steps towards a class-action lawsuit against RIM have been filed in Montreal, demanding direct user-by-user monetary compensation. The initiating plaintiff depended on BBM to keep in touch with contacts in Trinidad, the U.K., Barbados, and the U.S. While the outage only lasted a day-and-half in Canada, and this individual user’s total damages equal a mere fraction of their monthly wireless bill ($1.25), that sum could quickly rise if the Quebec Superior Court grants the case class action status and more plaintiffs jump into the ring. Some carriers are already offering compensation, but the case filing states:

“Refunding wireless service providers who pay a monthly fee for active BlackBerry users, does not obligate them to pass these monies along to BlackBerry users. Further, even if they did pass those along, it would not be sufficient to pay for the actual costs that wireless service providers charge to BlackBerry users in the form of monthly data plans;”

RIM certainly has the facilities to give out cash; they’ve issued prepaid MasterCards as PlayBook rebates and for phone trade-ins. Whether they want to go through all of that trouble to compensate people $15 at most (if you were out for a whole week and were paying $30/month for data) is another issue altogether. Of course, what they want to do and what they have to do are two very separate things. Between their aging product lineup, delays in future ones, and plummeting investor confidence, RIM really needs to make nice with consumers in every way they can. What would you guys prefer: $100 of free apps or $15 in cash? The apps are nice and all, but RIM’s the one picking them, not me, which I don’t particularly like.

[via Globe and Mail]

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