In a statement, Bannister Law said it could now lead to a class action against Tyro Payments over the company’s handling of the three-week outage in January this year. It seeks to compensate the businesses for loss of sales and goodwill they may have lost.
Bannister Law said Tyro had come forward to offer small businesses a rebate on future merchant fees from Tyro, which is about 10 per cent or less of their actual losses for some businesses, locking them in to ongoing contracts.
Alternatively, businesses can go through a “long and protracted” dispute resolution process, which is controlled by Tyro itself.
The offer has been deemed completely insufficient.
Bannister Law principal Charles Bannister said the law firm is now investigating the potential class action for affected business owners.
“We have spoken to one small business who estimated that the offer of rebates on merchant fees would result in her receiving just 10 per cent of the amount she has lost,” Mr Bannister said.
The outage hit thousands of struggling COVID-affected businesses just as customers were starting to return.
The majority of businesses impacted were small retail stores such as bakeries, pharmacies, cafés and independent retailers, according to Tyro’s website.
“In our view, Tyro has prioritised minimising churn of its customers over actually providing them with adequate compensation, and if customers opted for the dispute resolution process instead of taking the rebate compensation, the onus appears on the customer to substantiate their losses,” Mr Bannister said.
Mr Bannister said the outage happened at a terrible time.
“Customers were starting to return after a disastrous 2020 and a disappointing festive season where sales were well below previous years. Tyro’s failure was extensive,” Mr Bannister said.
“They did not communicate the extent of the issue or provide businesses with an accurate estimate as to when the service would be restored.
“Many businesses had customers return multiple times to make purchases and were unable to do so due to Tyro’s terminal failure. Businesses deserve fair compensation.”