O2 Refuses Compensation Claims After Outage
O2 has refused to pay compensation after its service in the South East was affected by theft and vandalism
Customers will not be able to seek financial redress from O2 after its network was hit by outages in East London, North London, Kent and Sussex, following a theft and vandalism on Monday night.
The company said, via a blog posting on the incident, that it is working with police to investigate the matter.
O2 has not revealed any specific details on the incident, but it is well known that the theft of copper cabling is an ongoing problem affecting network operators. Indeed, BT last year established a Metal Theft Taskforce (MTT) to help tackle this, and has a team of engineers devoted to replacing stolen cables.
“Our engineers were on site as soon as possible. Once we discovered that there had been a theft, we made the site secure and informed the police,” the O2 blog stated. “This was a well-organised theft which targeted this operations site.”
But the operator has ruled out any compensation for its customers affected by the outage.
“We provide a quality and award-winning service to 22 million customers in the UK and spend £1 million a day maintaining it,” said O2. “Mobile networks are not completely fault-free but incidents like the one we have experienced today are extremely rare. In light of this we do not, as a rule, offer compensation but customers can be reassured that full service has been restored as at 5.30pm last night.”
But judging by the number of messages left on the blog page by disgruntled O2 customers, many feel that despite it not being O2′s fault, it should have had a disaster recovery plan in place.
They also felt that O2 had not provided its contractual service, and therefore compensation or a discount, presumably on their monthly and PAYG bills, would be suitable.
“As a pay monthly customer why should we pay full price for the service not being available?” wrote John G. “We pay the monthly line rental for a service provided from O2, fair enough theft of equipment and vandalism is unforeseen and unfortunate but I’d like to know why I/we as customers should still pay the full price?”
“I sincerely hope compensation is offered,” wrote Eleanor.
“I get that there wasn’t anything you could do to prevent it, but there are going to be a lot of unhappy customers!! what do we get as compensation.?!” asked Sarah Amelle.
“I agree that we should get a payment for the inconvenience caused, especially for business users where work has been affected,” said Toni Heselden.
Many other complaints on the blog page also reflected these concerns and urged O2 to pay compensation.
O2 told eWEEK Europe UK that it has no further comment to make on the compensation matter, other than what was stated on the blog page.
This is not the first outage for O2. Back in December 2009, it suffered a number of embarrassing network failures in London. The operator was forced to admit at that time that the crash was caused by the data strain from the increasing use of smartphones.
“The pressures we felt in London, where we see the highest concentration of smartphone users, occurred nearly 18 months ago. We acted quickly and deployed 40 new sites in London in December 2009 alone, with fantastic results,” O2 told eWEEK Europe UK in January, when it revealed that Nokia Siemens Networks was to undertake a three year modernisation project to upgrade O2′s mobile network in the south of England.
O2 is not alone im having problems with its network. Back in February Vodafone’s UK network was crippled by a break-in at one of its technical facilities, which affected millions of customers’ voice, data and text services.