Will AT&T customers get a credit for Thursday's network outage? It might be worth a call

In the aftermath of Thursday's nationwide telecommunication outage, AT&T customers are wondering whether they will get some sort of credit on their account.

The telecom giant has said the outage, which lasted several hours, was caused by a technical error that happened during "the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack."

Amid the outage on Thursday, AT&T customers chatted on social media about whether they would get some sort of credit to their accounts for the inconvenience.

"I know the answer is going to be "LOL...Yeah, good luck with that" but ATT needs to seriously consider the impact that this outage has had on customers & at least offer a credit on the February statement," posted one person on Reddit. "Even if it is a 1/29 (3%) discount for the one day we were down, assuming they can get it back up today, we are paying for a service we are not getting."

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"AT&T better give us a credit next month," posted one person on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.

Can I get a credit or rebate from AT&T for the outage?

AT&T has not publicly said it would provide a rebate or credit to customers. When USA TODAY asked about it on Thursday and Friday, a spokesperson did not address the issue.

However, an AT&T customer in South Dakota told USA TODAY she contacted AT&T and got a $52.50 credit on her account on Thursday. "Never hurts to ask," she posted on X.

She told USA TODAY she logged onto her account online and clicked "Contact Us," and a representative gave her the credit. She said she wondered whether those who didn't do this quickly will get as much of a rebate.

AT&T customers experienced a major outage on Thursday.
AT&T customers experienced a major outage on Thursday.

AT&T outage: How much could a credit or rebate be?

If AT&T offered a credit simply based on how long customers were unable to use the communications network, it could amount to one day's worth of access. That 3% credit for the month could amount to about $1.50 to $2.60, assuming a monthly bill is about $51 to $86.

Because of the importance wireless networks are to consumers that may not seem enough compensation for the outage, Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, told USA TODAY on Thursday.

But AT&T will probably do "some kind of nominal credit. If you'll pro-rate it out, eight to 10 hours on a day out of a 31-day billing cycle doesn't amount to a whole lot, but I think it would do good by consumers," he said.

In September 2023, Charter Communications gave its Spectrum pay TV subscribers a $15 credit when a programming dispute took Disney and ESPN channels off the service. Initially, subscribers had to call in, but eventually the company gave it to all subscribers, Schwantes said.

AT&T, which has more than 70 million wireless subscribers in the U.S., is likely weighing what it should do. If the company gives even a $4 or $5 credit, "that's a real loss for AT&T," he said.

However, taking no action raises the possibility customers could defect to Verizon or T-Mobile. "Are they going to leave and never come back?" Schwantes said. That's why he expects the company will eventually offer a credit.

So does Dave Heger, a senior analyst at Edward Jones, who told USA TODAY on Thursday, "We expect that AT&T will offer some type of refund to restore customer goodwill."

"We think that this type of outage can negatively impact financial results in the quarter in which it occurs and cause short-term lost goodwill with customers," Heger said. "However, it does not have a longer-term impact on the business."

A woman walks past signage for AT&T in Washington, DC, on February 22, 2024.
A woman walks past signage for AT&T in Washington, DC, on February 22, 2024.

Follow Mike Snider on X and Threads: @mikesnider & mikegsnider.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: AT&T outage: Wireless customers want credit for interrupted service