Loyalty360 Reads: AT&T Compensating Customers for Outage, Report Shows BNPL Trend Increasing, and Golden Corral Breach Uncovers Data Privacy Concerns

AT&T Will Compensate Customers for Nationwide Service Disruptions 

AT&T has announced a compensation plan to reimburse customers affected by last week’s service outage. The almost 12-hour service blackout left U.S. customers disconnected and unable to make or receive calls. The Dallas, Texas-based telecommunications behemoth will credit $5 to each “potentially impacted” wireless subscriber’s account. AT&T stated that the figure is the “average cost of a full day of service.” The company’s business and prepaid plan customers and those with Cricket Wireless accounts are not eligible for the credit, and the telecom company hasn’t cited reasons for the exclusion. 

Expressing regret over the outage, AT&T stated, “We recognize the frustration this outage has caused and know we let many of our customers down. We understand this may have impacted their ability to connect with family, friends, and others. Small business owners may have been impacted, potentially disrupting an essential way they connect with customers.”  

The extended outage began early in the morning on February 22, with tens of thousands of AT&T customers unable to access calls, internet, texts, or emergency services. AT&T customers reported intermittent service interruptions in the days before the outage hit. Many were concerned that a cybersecurity incident caused the outage, but AT&T clarified that the service interruption was due to an internal error. The outage has since drawn the attention of the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, as it is rare to see a prolonged nationwide service disruption.  

Learn more about AT&T’s response to the network outage here: https://www.att.com/makeitright/  

 

NY Feds Release Report on Buy it Now, Pay Later Trend 

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released its second report on Buy Now, Pay Later payment plans. The Fed’s “How and Why Do Consumers Use ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’?” findings offer significant insight into the payment system’s appeal, highlighting that “financially fragile” consumers are more likely to utilize Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services than financially stable consumers. The installment payment platform allows buyers to pay for their purchase over a few interest-free installments. Some of the more popular BNPL apps are Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and Paypal’s Pay in 4. The payment system has become increasingly popular, with the Fed’s study showing that 60% of financially fragile consumers have already used BNPL at least five times or more over the past year. They are also more likely to buy using BNPL for purchases less than $250. On the other hand, slightly more than 20% of financially stable buyers have used BNPL when checking out, and these consumers tend to opt for BNPL when buying higher-dollar purchases ranging from $1,750 to $2,000. 

The New York Fed commented, “Given that BNPL use in the U.S. has not been observed over a full business cycle, this factor will be particularly important to track, as households may turn to BNPL if their financial conditions worsen.” 

The Fed’s study shows that BNPL appeals to consumers with credit problems or credit scores under 620 because they typically have challenges securing traditional credit. But BNPL is also attractive to consumers with good credit who are financially stable because they can enjoy the no-interest aspect of BNPL over high-interest credit cards. The downside is users from both groups are likely to get stuck in a cycle of paying for their purchases with BNPL. When asked why, most BNPL users cite the appeal of spreading out payments over a few installments. However, financially fragile consumers were specific about citing easy accessibility and a lack of funds for using BNPL. Unfortunately, some of these users are under the false misconception that buying through BNPL will help build their credit histories.  

Learn about the recurring Economic Inequality research series that highlights differences in economic outcomes and policy impacts by race, gender, age, geography, income, education, and other factors here: https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/heterogeneity-series   

 

Golden Corral Reveals Data Breach Impacting Employees 

Golden Corral has announced that it discovered a breach last August that allowed unauthorized access to its IT network, compromising sensitive data and information, including employees' and their dependents’ names and Social Security numbers. The buffet chain said customer data wasn’t impacted by the breach, which occurred between August 11 and August 15, 2023. The Raleigh, North Carolina-based restaurant chain investigated the breach and filed a notice with the Office of the Maine Attorney General. Earlier this month, Golden Corral started notifying potentially affected individuals and is providing two years of complimentary access to credit monitoring and identity restoration services.  

A Golden Corral spokesperson emphasized its commitment to safeguarding entrusted information by saying, “Due to protocols in place, customer data was not impacted as part of this incident. We have been communicating with federal law enforcement authorities throughout the investigation. Golden Corral treats our responsibility to safeguard the information entrusted to us as an utmost priority. As such, we responded promptly to this incident and have been working diligently to provide notice of the incident to those potentially impacted.”  

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 11% of all public companies experienced a breach in 2023. Organizations have seen a more than 2,600% increase in cyber incidents since 2018. 

See the data breach notification filed with the Attorney General’s office here:
https://apps.web.maine.gov/online/aeviewer/ME/40/d51dd4fd-408e-477f-ae99-7f0ecb058b8e.shtml 

 

Read More on Trends, Updates, and Industry Leaders   

 

Original Article Links:  

AT&T to reimburse customers after massive network outage 

BNPL popularity rises among ‘financially fragile’ consumers 

Data breach impacts Golden Corral employees 

Recent Content