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BlackBerry owners sue RIM over BBM outage

Angry BlackBerry owners have launched a legal attack over the disastrous failure of BlackBerry phones earlier this month.

Angry BlackBerry owners have launched a legal attack over the disastrous failure of BlackBerry phones earlier this month. Class-action lawsuits have been filed in the US and Canada against Research in Motion, the company behind BlackBerry.

Millions of BlackBerry owners all around the world were stuck without access to the Internet, online services and BlackBerry Messenger for the best part of a week. Frustrated users have signed up to the legal action after RIM failed to offer decent compensation.

BBM costs UK users £5 per month. RIM has offered free apps to say sorry, but hasn't offered any money back for the outage.

The class action lawsuits were filed in California in the US and Quebec in Canada. They accuse RIM of breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment.

The legal challenge is made slightly more complicated by the fact that many BlackBerry users, including Eric Mitchell, the Californian who originated the suit, don't have contracts directly with RIM. Instead, they pay their phone network for BlackBerry services. But the lawsuits claim this is an implied contract with RIM.

A class-action suit is a lawsuit that allows groups of people to mount a collective legal challenge. The suit could include up to 2.4m people from California alone, but it's not clear how many have actually signed up.

The BlackBerry outage couldn't have come at a worse time. Various BBM competitors have just launched, including Apple's iMessage and Samsung ChatON. Meanwhile, there's plenty of choice for anyone considering switching from BlackBerry, with the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nokia Lumia 800 just the latest nifty smart phones hitting the market.

Would you be willing to get involved in a legal challenge to claim compensation from RIM, or are those litigation-crazy Yanks going too far? Did you lose money or miss out on an important message in the BlackBerry outage? File your action in the comments or on our Facebook page.