Opinion: Payback

POSTED: 10/18/11 12:14 PM

The consumer protection organization Consumentenbond in the Netherlands wants the government to introduce legislation that obliges telecom providers to compensate their customers in case of lengthy service interruptions. Last week’s Blackberry blackout is the reason for the organization to call for the measure.
The Consumentenbond refers to existing legislation that obliges utility companies to compensate consumers if power outages last longer than a couple of hours.
We feel that there is a difference between a Blackberry outage and a power outage. So what if the yuppies among us are unable to access their email on a mobile platform for a couple of days? There are plenty of alternatives.
But when the power is out, companies have a real problem. We think that there is a nice task ahead for our esteemed parliament – moaning and groaning as it is about the mysterious fuel clause that blows electricity bills out of proportion – to write legislation that forces the utilities company to compensate its clients when power outages last longer than, say, three hours.
That will give Gebe an incentive to do its stinking best to prevent outages and it will give the victims of these power outages at least some sort of payback.

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