Consumer Alert: AT&T provides $5 credit to customers affected by outage

Consumer Alert: Credit for AT&T Customer

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – We’re sorry. That was the message from AT&T Sunday night following last week’s outage. On Monday some News10NBC viewers responded with disappointment. But AT&T says $5 is the average cost of a day of cell service.           

But the value to customers is far more than that, especially small business owners who rely on their cell service to make a living. Customers first started reporting outages around 3 a.m. Thursday. At its peak, more than 70,000 customers were reporting outages, but the number is believed to be higher because those are only the self-reported numbers.

AT&T announced it had restored service just after three Thursday afternoon. And then Sunday night, it sent all customers a text message apologizing for the outage and vowing to do better.

The following Facebook messages from viewers sum up the bulk of reactions we’ve gotten to the $5 compensation. Anita said, “The fact that AT&T really thought this was okay and acceptable is mind-boggling.” Andrea said, “They might as well keep it and wipe their *** with it.”  I’ll let you fill in the blank.  And Jeff asked, “So if I have four phones is that $20?” 

That’s a good question, Jeff. So, I asked AT&T. An AT&T spokesperson answered my question with this likely mandated non-answer, “We apologize and recognize the frustration this outage has caused and know we let many of our customers down. To help make it right, we’re applying a credit to potentially impacted accounts to help reassure our customers of our commitment to reliably connect them – anytime and anywhere. More information:”

I searched that website, and it doesn’t specify whether it’s $5 per line or per account. I called and emailed the FCC much of the day on Monday and had gotten no answer by the writing of this story at 7:00 pm. But I can find no law mandating compensation in the event of a cell phone outage. So, I looked at what other providers usually do.

According to customer forums, all will usually provide a credit if you call and ask for it. But the onus is usually on the consumer to ask.