Rogers Communications says it will credit its customers for five days of service following last week’s massive network outage that affected cellular and Internet service for millions of Canadians.
The outage, which began on Friday and lasted for many into the weekend, also disrupted government services and payment systems, prompting criticism and questions from the federal government and the telecoms regulator.
“We have been hearing from our customers and Canadians across the country who have told us how significant the impacts of the outage were to them,” Chloe Luciani-Girouard, a spokeswoman for Rogers Communications, said in an email to CBC News.
“We know we need to win back their trust.”
She described the credit as a “first step”.
Rogers attributes the outage to a network system failure following a maintenance update on its core network.
The company previously said that it would be “proactively crediting” all affected customers and that this credit would be automatically applied to their accounts.
But there were reports that Rogers would give customers credit for just two days of lost service, which equates to $4 to $6 for internet and cell service, industry analyst Vince Valentini of TD Bank wrote in a note. TD Securities.
Some had suggested that was not enough, given the extent of the damage.
David Soberman, Canadian national chair of strategic marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, previously said the company needed to reimburse customers for at least a week of service.
“That would probably be the bare minimum,” he said.
He suggested that Rogers needed to learn a simple business rule: If customers don’t feel like they’re being treated the right way, they leave.
“If they lose five, six, seven percent of their customers, that’s going to be a lot worse than [paying out] a week’s worth of [compensation]Soberman said.
Last week was the second time in as many years that Rogers was hit by a major power outage; the company’s wired and wireless networks similarly lowered in April 2021. At the time, Rogers blamed a software update on one of his equipment vendors.
In 2021, the company offered customers rebates for its services, which ended up being just a few dollars per customer.
The Toronto-based communications giant reported quarterly net income last January of $405 million.
Rogers says it serves around 11.3 million subscribers in the Canadian wireless market.
‘Big financial hit’
Under Rogers’ residential service agreement, if an outage lasts more than four hours, customers are entitled to one day of credit on their account for each service they have, Marina Pavlović, interim co-director of the Center for Law, Technology and Society of the University of Ottawa, he told CBC News Network host Aarti Pole.
A customer with home internet and a company cell phone, for example, would be entitled to compensation for the cost of one day of service for each product, he said.
“Most people haven’t really read that contract, so they didn’t even know it was there.”
In his terms of service, Pavlović says that Rogers has a detailed limitation of liability clause, which reduces his obligations on several fronts, including service interruptions.
“And that clause actually says ‘we don’t guarantee uninterrupted service,'” he said. “Whether that’s correct or not is a completely different issue.”
Among the large telcos, Rogers is not alone in limiting its own liability for outages, he added. “Every telecommunications service provider has clauses like this.”
David Finch, a marketing professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University who previously worked for Rogers, says that if he were still with the company, he would advise them to offer each affected customer a month of free service.
Such a move would likely be a “major financial hit,” he said, but it could end the anger now, “rather than drip, drip, drip.”
Dan Kelly, director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, said Monday that he thinks business owners should get a free month of Rogers service to make up for the outage, which came as businesses are still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19.
“There are businesses in Canada that have been closed for over 400 days … in the last two years, so every day of sales is absolutely critical in this recovery period,” he told The Canadian Press.
“It was just brutal…and much more of an inconvenience. This was cutting into very limited revenue in a very critical period.”
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