A group of irate rugby fans says they will sue Spark for $250 million for failings in its livestreaming service of the Rugby World Cup.

The group called People Vs Spark Sport announced on their Facebook page that they will file a class action lawsuit against Spark Sport (Spark New Zealand).

The action would encompass all customers who experienced any minor or major issues with the Spark Sport App, or any other Spark services during the RWC campaign and be at no cost to customers affected.

A spokesman for the facebook group - which has 1962 followers - says those who have not had a problem with the service can opt out of the class action.


In an unsigned statement, the group said that the Spark Sport product or service "as a whole proved to be unfit for purpose during the opening weekend of the RWC and has continued to prove 'not fit for purpose' for many consumers since".

All 130,000 customers may now have a right to claim, given Spark Sport have rolled out the customer care strategy involving free in home visits and free devices offered to some customers but not all, it said.

Its case may take into account customers indirectly impacted by way of having personally purchased equipment including such as Google Chromecast, Freeview SmartVu Puk or Apple TV devices costing up to $249.

The suit would claim Spark "has misled its customers about its Spark Sport product/s and acted in a manner that aims to deceive its customers and shareholders'.'

It claims Spark had breached the Consumers Guarantees Act 1993 in its dealings with its customers

A Spark spokeswoman, Ellie Cross, said the company is comfortable it has satisfied its legal obligations.

"While we are aware of the proposed lawsuit, we have yet to be provided with any information as to the basis of the claims to be alleged. "

Cross said the primary request from The People Vs Spark Sport was to show all remaining matches simulcast on TVNZ.


"While we have a contingency plan in place, we have a set of criteria around how we decide to activate this plan.

"We have been clear since we announced this plan that Spark would only decide to switch to simulcast on TVNZ in the event of a significant failure of the Spark Sport platform or a widespread breakdown of streaming availability."

Spark did this during the pool match between the All Blacks and South Africa, because it identified a fault within its streaming delivery chain.

Ardie Savea is tackled by South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi in their RWC 2019 pool match. Photo / Photosport
Ardie Savea is tackled by South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi in their RWC 2019 pool match. Photo / Photosport

"To give customers confidence in Spark Sport, we chose to continue to simulcast the next day's games on TVNZ Duke while we confirmed that the network configuration changes we made to the platform had resolved this fault."

Since that date, we have not had a significant failure or widespread breakdown of streaming availability, so we will not be simulcasting on TVNZ.

Cross said Spark had repeatedly offered assistance to the woman who owns the Facebook page - as it does with all customers - but she had declined.

The company believes customer support measures specifically put in place to address "difficulties streaming Spark Sport where we believe they should be able to do so" had been "very successful".

The number of customer queries received on one day declined by 80 per cent between September 21 and September 28 – and has dropped even further since then, Cross said.

"However, we recognise there are still some customers, albeit a small minority, who continue to have issues watching Spark Sport."

They were urged to contact Spark.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Commission is still receiving complaints from Spark customers despite Spark Sport saying that the All Blacks match against Canada streamed successfully on Wednesday night.

Unhappy customers include former All Blacks and Auckland Blues star Craig Innes who called Spark an "arrogant" company pushing an "inferior product".

He had missed most of the second half of Australia v Wales with buffering and picture freeze.