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AT&T Hit By Class Action Lawsuit For Overcharging iPhone Users For Data Usage

February 1st, 2011 02:35 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

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A disgruntled AT&T user has filed a class action lawsuit against US Carrier alleging that it is overcharging users of iOS devices like the iPad and the iPhone for data usage.

Patrick Hendrix alleges that AT&T is claiming bogus data usage even when an iOS device is left idle and claims that he hired an independent consulting firm to conduct a two month study on AT&T’S practices for data usage.

According to the lawsuit:

“AT&T’s bills systematically overstate the amount of data used on each data transaction involving an iPhone or iPad account and bills customers for data transactions even if they disable their phones and leave them untouchedâ€. It goes on to describe AT&T’s billing mechanism as a “rigged gas tank that charges pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car’s tank.

Based on the two month study conducted by the hired consulting firm, Hendricks claims that on an average, AT&T overstates the data usage by 7 to 14 per cent and in some instances, up to 300 per cent. Another startling claim by Hendrix is that AT&T also charges users for “phantom†data usage where the user is charged for data transfer even when the device is left idle for hours.

“Not only does AT&T systematically overbill for every data transaction, it also bills for phantom data traffic when there is no actual data usage initiated by the customer.â€

To verify this, the consulting firm hired by Hendrix purchased an iPhone from AT&T and, disabled all notifications on it and did not configure any mail accounts on it. To make sure no applications connect to AT&T, all applications were closed ensuring none were running in the background. After leaving the device untouched for 10 days, it still managed to rake up over 2 MB of data usage in a total of 35 data transactions. Patrick adds:

“This is like a rigged gas pump charging you when you never even pulled your car into the station.â€

While it is quite normal for multitasking enabled apps running in the background to consume data, the suit clearly states that they made sure no apps were running in the background.

The suit also claims that a significant portion of AT&T’s wireless data revenues amounting to $4.9 billion in the last quarter were inflated by overcharging users. These are serious allegations against AT&T. AT&T’s spokesperson has issued the following statement:

“Transparent and accurate billing is a top priority for AT&T. In fact, we’ve created tools that let our customers check their voice and data usage at any time during their billing cycle to help eliminate bill surprises. We have only recently learned of the complaint, but I can tell you that we intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”

Have you ever felt that you’ve been overcharged for data usage by AT&T?

[Courthouse News Service via PC World]

Source: AT&T Hit By Class Action Lawsuit For Overcharging iPhone Users For Data Usage

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