Network failure: Let us help you get what Optus owes you
Are you one of the millions of Australians affected by the Optus outage? Are you wondering if it’s worth your time and effort to put in a claim for compensation?
The good news is, yes, it is - despite what you might be hearing from Optus. And we can help you do it with the minimum of fuss.
The unprecedented outage affected more than 10 million customers. And while for some it might have been an inconvenience, for many others the 13-hour downtime had a big impact on their livelihoods or caused them huge distress at a difficult time. Perhaps you were one of those badly affected?
Optus has announced it will offer an extra 200GB of data as compensation to eligible postpaid customers. It will also provide unlimited data on weekends until the end of the year for prepaid customers.
Consumers started receiving emails from Optus on Friday promising "at least 200GB of extra data, so you can connect more during the upcoming summer". However, they are far from happy.
And the Australian Government, which has launched a review into the outage. And the Telecommunications Ombudsman agree that Optus customers should be appropriately compensated.
What happened to the Optus network
The outage began about 4am eastern standard time on Wednesday, November 8. It prevented Optus customers from using mobile and internet services. Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the company had “no line of sight” to the outage, which originated from a “deep fault”, but that it was unlikely to be a cyber attack.
The network was not fully restored until about 14 hours later. By which time millions of customers at work and home had been adversely affected. Businesses were unable to make calls or take payments. Even hospitals and other essential services, such as public transport, were hit.
Critically, the telco said it had received reports from mobile customers who said they were unable to access emergency services via Triple Zero (000). When a network is down, consumers should still be able to use the phone to access alternate networks if they have to make an emergency call. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched an investigation into whether emergency calls were affected.
How has the Optus outage affected you?
Perhaps you run a small business whose takings for November 8 took a huge hit? Or you had a loved one fall ill and couldn’t get through to emergency services? Maybe you had a similar experience to Sydney woman Rachel who was unable to be reached by the hospital where her mother was dying to say one final farewell.
The offer of extra data is hardly going to make up for any of the above. As a Sydney funeral celebrant told radio 2GB: “This compensation is no compensation. You pay for a plan with a suitable amount of data in it so you never go over it. So offering an extra 200GB costs Optus nothing.”
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said Australians would expect the telco to compensate them properly. "She said, "It would seem very reasonable for Optus to look at how they can attempt to recompense people for this." Furthermore, she pointed out that the telco had an obligation under Australian Consumer Law and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme.
The telco ombudsman Cynthia Gebert also urged consumers who had suffered a loss because of the outage to make a claim with Optus. Consumers should show any receipts, bills or bank statements. And they should determine how much compensation they want based on what they lost during the outage. “Contact Optus to explain your scenario. And if you can’t get a fair and reasonable outcome, come to our office,” she said.
The ombudsman has the power to order a telco to pay up to $100,000 for financial losses. Additionally, they can order payment of up to $1500 for stress or inconvenience.
How we can help you claim compensation
We know how stressful it can be to seek compensation for a wrong. Epecially when you feel like David battling Goliath. You may have already approached Optus to seek recompense, or perhaps you’re so angry you just want to cancel your contract with the telco and haven’t been able to do so.
After all, this outage comes on the back of last year’s major data breach that resulted in hackers gaining access to Optus customers’ passport numbers and driver’s licences.
No matter your issue, Handle My Complaint can streamline the process with just a few easy steps from you. As complaint specialists, we know how to navigate the system and get results.
If you are one of the 10 million Australians affected by this outage, we are offering you three months free membership to our specialist complaint platform. This means we will not help you sort your issue with Optus but any other complaint that arises in that time, for nothing.
Our regular membership is $24.95 for unlimited complaint handling (which we think is still a bargain). But we want to alleviate financial stress at this difficult time, rather than add to it. So join up now and see what we can do for you.