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Rogers class-action lawsuit filed in court after network outage


A Quebec man has launched a class-action lawsuit against Rogers, accusing the telecommunications giant of being negligent and "paralyzing the country for an entire day" after last week's nationwide outage.

The major outage was felt across the country, disrupting not just texting and mobile data but also customers' abilities to call 911 and make purchases via debit payment systems.

The class-action suit, which has not yet been authorized by a judge, was filed by the law firm LPC Avocat Inc. in Superior Court on Monday in Montreal. The suit is seeking $400 for members who are Rogers customers affected by the network failure on July 8 and 9. It is also seeking compensation for Rogers sub-brand customers, like Fido Mobile and Chatr Mobile.

Arnaud Verdier of Quebec is named as the applicant in the legal filing. A Rogers customer since June 2020, he was "flabbergasted" that his carrier was only offering as compensation for the outage a credit equivalent to two days of service to customers, according to the application to authorize the class-action suit.

In a statement on Saturday, Rogers president and CEO Tony Staffieri blamed the cause of the "network system failure" on a "maintenance update" in the company's core network.

In the legal filing, Verdier wrote that Rogers should have tested the update before rolling it out, what is known in the IT world as "staging."

"It also appears that Rogers performed its update without a 'rollback'. Regardless of the exact techincal reason, this breach can only be qualified as a gross negligence on the part of Rogers," the unhappy customer alleged in the application.

He filed the lawsuit because he believed the two days' credit is "wholly inadequate" for the damage suffered, he claimed he was "misled" by Rogers advertising that it was "Canada's most reliable network," and because he wanted to hold Rogers accountable for its "negligence" by rendering 911 services unreachable for its customers for an extended period of time.

On Tuesday, one day after the application was filed with the court, Rogers announced it would reimburse all impacted customers for up to five days of service.

CTV News reached out to Rogers to comment on the allegations but the company did not respond by publication time. 

Service was disrupted early Friday morning and was restored to most customers by Friday evening, though some users reported issues with the network into the weekend

Exhibits filed with the suit show that Rogers was allegedly instructing store staff last Friday to remove posters containing "Get on Canada’s most Reliable 5G Network" marketing material on the day of the outage.

Verdier alleged he suffered damages that far outweighed the credit of two days of service.

He explained that on the day of the outage he was driving from St-Hubert, Que. to the off-island Montreal suburb of Blainville, which usually takes about an hour by car. However, since he couldn't navigate on Google Maps with his smartphone "to the quickest route (i.e. to avoid traffic), the trip on July 8 took him 90 minutes," the application claimed.

"Not only did the extra 30 minutes on the road cost the Applicant more money in gas (currently at approximately $2.00 per litre), but he was extremely stressed because he was stuck in traffic in Montreal and knew that he would not be able to call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency."

The application also said he could not buy a lunch with his debit card last Friday.

"In this case, the troubles and inconvenience caused as a direct result of Rogers’ fault and negligence as alleged above (failing to ensure that proper safeguards were in place such as a rollback, staging, etc.), exceed the normal inconveniences that a person in the twenty-first century encounters and should be required to accept," the application alleged.

"Indeed, a full day outage for the entire country because Rogers was negligent in performing its maintenance update … is unprecedented."

Verdier is seeking $200 per member for failing to provide service to customers and another $200 per member for the claim that Rogers made "false representations" about having the most reliable network.

The application is also seeking compensation on behalf of non-Rogers customers who could not make debit and Interac e-transfers during the outage period. Top Stories

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