Irate BlackBerry Users Sue Research In Motion

They claim the outages represent a breach of contract and negligence

Irate BlackBerry customers have filed class actions lawsuits in the United States and Canada against manufacturer Research in Motion seeking damages for service outages earlier this month, Reuters has reported.

RIM’s co-CEOs have apologized repeatedly for outages that spread globally and left millions without service for up to four days. The company also offered its customers about $100 in free applications.

That has not been enough for Sherman Oaks resident Eric Mitchell, who filed a suit Wednesday in federal court in Santa Ana on behalf of all Blackberry owners in the U.S.

The suit alleges that the interruptions to e-mail, Internet and messaging represent a breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment. A similar lawsuit has been brought in Quebec, Canada.

The claim is that customers were paying for a service they did not receive and that BlackBerry did not adequately respond to the problem.

RIM publicly addressed the problems while they were still ongoing and co-CEO Mike Laziridis apologized again at the company’s Oct. 18 developers’ conference.

“The worldwide outages we experienced this week were unfortunate," Laziridis said at the time. "We restored full services as quickly as we could. Now we're working on root cause analysis and we're focused on making this right for BlackBerry users around the world.”

The outrages came at a bad time for RIM, which has seen its value dip and its share of the smartphone market plummet with the rise of Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. The outages came just after the launch of the iPhone 4S, which has been Apple’s fastest-selling phone.