BlackBerry sued over global service failure

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In the latest twist of the tale of BlackBerry’s woes, the smartphone’s maker Research In Motion (RIM), is now being sued in Canada and the US as a result of the global BlackBerry Messenger failure.

The plaintiff of the suit hope to escalate the case into class-action lawsuit thus representing every BlackBerry user in the respective countries. At the moment, the amount RIM will be asked to pay out has not yet been determined.

The US lawsuit accuses RIM of “negligence, unjust enrichment and breach of contract”. Filed this week in California, it was brought forward by the BlackBerry owners who were unable to use instant messaging, email and internet services.

In the wake of the blackout — which began in Europe, the Middle-East, and Africa, but spread across the globe over three days — RIM sought to appease angry customers by offering them US$100 worth of free “premium” apps, yet the lawsuit is instead seeking for monetary compensation.

An individual example cites the plaintiff known as “M. BLACKETTE”, a BlackBerry owner from Canada.

Blackette’s case mentions the BlackBerry free app program, saying that, “The right to download specific free apps (which RIM values at more than US$100) does not properly compensate BlackBerry users who have paid for services that they were unable to use”.

The requested compensation is seemingly paltry. “In the petitioner’s case his rated share of the damages that he suffered is US$1.25, namely $25 for his monthly data plan / 30 days x 1.5 days”. The amount of money requested, however petty could open up the floodgates for further, successful lawsuits.

The compensation sought would be structured differently for each customer. According to their contract with their service providers, some would receive US$1.25, others US$3 and so on.

For three days, BlackBerry users in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East were left in the dark as RIM outright refused to answer any issues as to why its services remained inaccessible. RIM blamed the now infamous core switch and its European backup servers for its failure to deliver its messaging services.

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