South African BlackBerry users affected by the recent outage may seek recourse from the National Consumer Commission, Business Day reported on Thursday, 13 October 2011.
South African National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said consumers would find protection under sections 55, 56 and 61 of the Consumer Protection Act, which provides rights on the quality of goods, and liability for damage caused by goods.
Everyone who was involved in the value chain could be held liable in terms of section 61 of the act.
Some commentators said this might be difficult because the system failure occurred outside South Africa.
BlackBerry traffic is routed through two main centres, in Waterloo for North America, and in Slough, southern England, for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Business Day continued.
Mohlala said consumers who had bought their BlackBerry handsets after April could return them and demand another brand with an equal value, or a refund because the service promised was not delivered.
The commission had received one complaint so far. Meanwhile, BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) services appeared to have resumed today.
According to a statement on BlackBerry’s South Africa website the company was working on clearing up the message backlog. No Comment was available on the company’s approach to compensation.
There are about two million BlackBerry handsets in South Africa – around 70% of the local smartphone market. BlackBerry has about 70 million global users.