Email service changes
Lost emails and lost profits for small business owner.
Ariana* owned and operated a B&B business from her home and hosted a website to book her B&B clients. Her telecommunications provider provided a free “add-on” email service, which she used for her personal email and her B&B business email.
Her telco made changes to this add-on service nationwide and gave customers two months’ notice of the change. Ariana duly changed her personal email address but omitted to check and change her business email address. As a consequence, she lost some business during a holiday period and sought compensation and refund for expenses from her telecommunications provider.
Ariana made a complaint to her telecommunications provider. Her complaint focused on lost profits because of not getting the emails from prospective clients. She quantified this into some thousands of dollars based on the number of prospective bookings and the number of days per booking. However, Ariana’s contract with her telecommunications provider excluded recovery of lost profits. Regardless, in recognition of the complaint, her telecommunications provider offered a refund / credit of 3 monthly rental charges.
The customer was dissatisfied with this resolution and referred her claim to TDR. One of TDR’s mediators worked with the parties to see what they might be able to agree to. During negotiations, Ariana’s telecommunications provider agreed to refund any direct costs associated with the changes to Ariana’s business email address. These were different to lost profits associated with prospective bookings. She identified those direct costs and her provider increased their original settlement offer to a refund/credit equating to 3.5 months of rental.
Although Ariana was still dissatisfied that lost profit compensation was excluded under her contract with her telecommunications provider, and thus not something that TDR could award, she acknowledged the detail of the contract that she had signed with her provider and accepted.
*Names have been changed to protect our customers’ identities.