Outage of AT&T Customer Compensation Insights and Advocacy Tips

“It’s rare a company just gives the money back,” remarked Susan Weinstock, CEO of the Consumer Federation of America. “A lot of times, you have to apply for that, and of course, a lot of people don’t know about it or don’t do it,” she explained. “That’s a huge problem.”

‘It won’t be our last’

AT&T’s outage on Thursday knocked out service for tens of thousands of customers, who were unable to use their phones without access to Wi-Fi. It was the result of an internal company error — not a cyberattack — as AT&T worked to expand its network, it said.

AT&T is crediting consumers and small business customers “most impacted by the outage” to “compensate them for the inconvenience they experienced,” company CEO John Stankey wrote in a letter Sunday.

AT&T gives consumer advocates
Consumer advocates stress the importance of asserting rights for outage compensation, prompt action is recommended.

Fmr. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says he’s leaning toward a ‘mundane’ explanation for AT&T outage “This isn’t our inaugural network outage, and regrettably, it won’t mark our final one either — it’s an unfortunate reality of our industry,” he stressed. AT&T intends to reimburse customers with the average cost of a full day of service, according to its announcement.

However, this credit won’t apply to AT&T Business Enterprise and Platinum accounts, AT&T prepaid, or Cricket services, as stated by the company. Stankey mentioned that affected prepaid customers “will have options available to them,” but didn’t provide further details.

“Don’t wait for your provider,” advised John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud at the National Consumers League. “If you were impacted by this, don’t hesitate to reach out to AT&T directly and ensure you receive the credit you deserve.”

Many companies don't offer it automatically.
Advice: Proactively request reimbursement for future outages, many companies don’t offer it automatically.

Breyault suggested that consumers who prefer not to call customer service may find a resolution faster through their provider’s online portal or chatbot. While phone and internet companies may offer such credits voluntarily, Breyault noted the absence of similar mandatory consumer protection as seen in the airline industry, where federal law mandates refunds for flight cancellations.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a rule that would mandate rebates for consumers affected by programming blackouts on cable or satellite television subscriptions.

“It’s a matter of timing,” remarked Susan Weinstock, emphasizing the importance of consumers promptly requesting reimbursement. “But it’s worthwhile to always communicate with your carrier, asserting your rights in the event of an outage and advocating for compensation.”

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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