Three network outage: how to claim compensation

Three mobile

Were you affected by Three’s recent service outage? Good news: you may be able to claim compensation for your inconvenience and any additional charges you accrued. Here’s how.

As you’ll recall if you were affected and inconvenienced, Three’s network recently went down for about 16 hours between 11.30pm on October 16th to 4.30pm the next day.

That meant customers were unable to take care of the kind of day-to-day tasks we now take for granted. No online banking. No online shopping. And more worryingly, no way to make calls to emergency services.

The good news is that Three is compensating customers affected, sometimes to the tune of £20.

The bad news is that it won’t pay out automatically.

Instead, you’ll have to submit a complaint to have any chance of getting some financial redress for your trouble.

How to claim compensation from Three

person using phone

As you’d expect, Three has apparently been fielding more calls than usual due to the number of customers affected by the outage.

So calling Three on ‘333’ from your handset to make your complaint via the phone probably isn’t the best way to go about it. Unless you don’t mind waiting, that is.

But it's better by far to go online to the Three site and use the LiveChat to speak to a customer support rep.

Whatever method you choose to get in touch, make sure you’ve got your name, address and phone number to hand.

If the outage meant you faced unexpected charges, for instance you may have had to pay for public WiFi to get online or you weren’t able to pay for parking or transfer money to pay a bill, you’ve got a better chance of being reimbursed if you’ve got evidence (think: screenshots or receipts).

In the event that Three doesn’t resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you can take your case to the Telecoms Ombudsman.

To do so, you’ll need to ask Three for a ‘deadlock’ letter. Which we'd recommend you request by posting a letter to Three with proof of postage.

How much compensation can you claim?

There’s no guarantee you’ll be successful. Statements from Three suggest they’re considering each claimant on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.

However, customer testimonies indicate that Three is for the most part offering customers bill credit of between £5-£10.

Some claimants have reputedly succeeded in getting £20, though. But it seems you'll need to be persistent.

Why isn’t compensation paid out automatically?

We're not sure yet. But what we do know is that back in December last year, O2 customers were also hit by a major outage that left them without service for 24 hours.

In response, O2 offered everyone affected compensation automatically. This took the form of a refund for two days’ service.
Pay as you go customers were offered 10% extra when they next topped up their phone.

Three’s policy of asking customers to contact them rather than offer automatic compensation to call customers is unexpected, in the wake of O2’s ‘mea-culpa’ approach.

But speculation suggests that Three's policy of only paying out if customers call t claim may be because the outage didn’t last as long. Or that that the exact cause of the fault has yet to become clear.

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