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(Washington Times)   Expected: Man sues AT&T over limited 'Unlimited data' on iPhone, Unexpected: Wins judgement against AT&T in Superior Court   (washingtontimes.com) divider line 65
    More: Spiffy, iPhone, Senate Hearing, World Wide Web, Simi Valley, business directory, class-action  
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8924 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Feb 2012 at 11:16 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-02-24 10:04:39 PM
FTFA: AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said the company will appeal the judge's ruling.

"At the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers," he said.


Specifically, he's talking about the part of the contract that says AT&T has the right to change the terms of the contract whenever they feel like it. Sure, we'll sell you something called an "unlimited" plan, but WE will determine what unlimited actually means. If you don't like it, sue us. Otherwise, pay your bill and STFU.

Basically, they're assholes. Their customer service is rated dead last. Customers who left them for T-Mobile were horrified when AT&T made its bid for T-Mobile last year (and relieved when the deal died). This should tell you something.
 
2012-02-24 11:24:07 PM
Of course they are assholes just like every other wireless provider, whats you point?
 
2012-02-24 11:33:19 PM
In a small claims court, what kind of defense team, if any, does the defendant typically have? I can't imagine AT&T sending out some lawyers after a guy making a claim for $850. Now, I'm sure they'll do something about it on the appeal, but I'm guessing Mr. Spaccarelli will now need to hire a pricey lawyer, since he can't join a class-action lawsuit. Either way, I'd guess this guy is farked unless the appeal is heard before a judge who would lean toward the consumer in such cases.

Also, what's an "unemployed truck driver?" If he's a truck driver, then he's not unemployed; if he's unemployed, then he's not exactly a truck driver. Or is the author just noting the plaintiff's preferred mode of transportation?
 
2012-02-24 11:34:47 PM

Fark Me To Tears: This should tell you something.


It tells me nothing about why people think parking a radar gun against teir temple 57483495874389 times a day justifies their being smug about being pissed off about their lack of logic when trying to back out of a consensual agreement with a known provider of theft of services.

STFU and drive.
 
2012-02-24 11:38:03 PM

madden101: In a small claims court, what kind of defense team, if any, does the defendant typically have? I can't imagine AT&T sending out some lawyers after a guy making a claim for $850. Now, I'm sure they'll do something about it on the appeal, but I'm guessing Mr. Spaccarelli will now need to hire a pricey lawyer, since he can't join a class-action lawsuit. Either way, I'd guess this guy is farked unless the appeal is heard before a judge who would lean toward the consumer in such cases.

Also, what's an "unemployed truck driver?" If he's a truck driver, then he's not unemployed; if he's unemployed, then he's not exactly a truck driver. Or is the author just noting the plaintiff's preferred mode of transportation?


I think the author is an under the table semi employed cawk sucker, too.
But the important thing is, most people are cradled by what they cradle.
The crutch of society is not the cell phone.
It's the lack of balance.
If you do something, do it.
If you want to talk about what you do, Talk about it.
Face to face.
Most people have forgotten that basic human skill.
 
2012-02-24 11:38:27 PM

Fark Me To Tears: FTFA: AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said the company will appeal the judge's ruling.

"At the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers," he said.

Specifically, he's talking about the part of the contract that says AT&T has the right to change the terms of the contract whenever they feel like it. Sure, we'll sell you something called an "unlimited" plan, but WE will determine what unlimited actually means. If you don't like it, tough shiat - your contract says you can't sue us. Otherwise, pay your bill and STFU. F*ck you, pay me.

FTFY
 
2012-02-24 11:54:05 PM
IANAL can anyone explain why they can't be hit with false advertising charges for using the term "unlimited"

It's one thing to have hidden text in the contract but if the advertisement says its unlimited wouldn't false advertising laws kick in if it becomes limited.
 
2012-02-25 12:04:58 AM

steamingpile: Of course they are assholes just like every other wireless provider, whats you point?


I have never had a problem with Verizon. and I have dealt with their customer service both in their stores and on the phone. They even replaced two of my broken phones with no charge, one was actually a few days out of warranty. So I can't say out of experience that Verizon is bad. But AT&T is the worse. Dealt with them a few times when my friend had issues. The technician tried to talk techno crap to me and I just said "sure... whatever you say" knowing he knows nothing and laughed when he left the house. Completely wrong in everything he said.
 
2012-02-25 12:06:23 AM

Warlordtrooper: IANAL can anyone explain why they can't be hit with false advertising charges for using the term "unlimited"


They never guaranteed the speed at which you connected to said service with so technically 300kbs is still unlimited data service.

Also this is just a local judge, not a superior court justice judge.
 
2012-02-25 12:07:36 AM

yves0010: I have never had a problem with Verizon.


Yeah Verizon was the shiattiest at customer service for years, you just got them after all the bullshiat.

Dont act like they were always great, they had to change after the public biatched for years.
 
2012-02-25 12:12:45 AM

Warlordtrooper: IANAL can anyone explain why they can't be hit with false advertising charges for using the term "unlimited"

It's one thing to have hidden text in the contract but if the advertisement says its unlimited wouldn't false advertising laws kick in if it becomes limited.


I don't know about AT&T specifically, but I work for a carrier that offers unlimited service and has a clause in the terms & conditions called "Unlimited use is not unreasonable use." Basically if your usage puts such a strain on the network that it negatively impacts the service of other users, the company has the right to do something about it.

These things are put together by lawyers. They're aware of the legal ramifications of the marketing and advertising.

99.99% of customers are never going to be impacted by this. And that 0.01% who are, they'd rather have them go elsewhere if they're not happy.
 
2012-02-25 12:12:47 AM
There is no such thing as "unlimited data". The information content of the universe is finite.


madden101: In a small claims court, what kind of defense team, if any, does the defendant typically have?


One person, I believe, who is actually not allowed to technically BE a lawyer. Next best thing, of course, but still. I like this new trend of small claims court instead of class-actions. Cut out the big giant firms, bureaucracy, let a couple of individuals tell it to a judge. Small government at its finest.
 
2012-02-25 12:13:51 AM

steamingpile: yves0010: I have never had a problem with Verizon.

Yeah Verizon was the shiattiest at customer service for years, you just got them after all the bullshiat.

Dont act like they were always great, they had to change after the public biatched for years.


I have been with them for about 10 years now and I know they had bad customer service but the store I usually go to did not. I guess I had a rare store where they actually care about the customer.
 
2012-02-25 12:32:12 AM
"AT&T forbids them from consolidating their claims into a class action or taking them to a jury trial. That leaves small claims actions and arbitration."


This is a problem in our society.

/ I know that you dont have to sign it, and I know no one should EVER sign a binding arbitration agreement, but still, it circumvents the laws.
 
2012-02-25 12:39:17 AM

vudukungfu: bullshiat


Are you drunk or just stupid?
 
2012-02-25 12:42:51 AM
They will wish they allowed class action suits when they get 1 million small claims cases to handle vs one and have to pay our $850 for each versus a $10 coupon off of a new phone with a 2 year contract.
 
2012-02-25 12:44:15 AM

I sound fat: This is a problem in our society.


Yeah that needs to be made illegal, no customer should at any time be made to sign away their ability to sue or join a class action suit.
 
2012-02-25 12:46:36 AM

TheGreatGazoo: They will wish they allowed class action suits when they get 1 million small claims cases to handle vs one and have to pay our $850 for each versus a $10 coupon off of a new phone with a 2 year contract.


What'll be fun is when they forget to show up in small claims court and the judge decides to let the plaintiff have a bit more than just what they were going for.
 
zez
2012-02-25 12:48:05 AM

WhyteRaven74: I sound fat: This is a problem in our society.

Yeah that needs to be made illegal, no customer should at any time be made to sign away their ability to sue or join a class action suit.


or a jury trial. Isn't that one of the basic rights?
 
2012-02-25 12:49:40 AM

eudemonist: There is no such thing as "unlimited data". The information content of the universe is finite.


madden101: In a small claims court, what kind of defense team, if any, does the defendant typically have?

One person, I believe, who is actually not allowed to technically BE a lawyer. Next best thing, of course, but still. I like this new trend of small claims court instead of class-actions. Cut out the big giant firms, bureaucracy, let a couple of individuals tell it to a judge. Small government at its finest.


Depends on the state, I believe. I know GA allows lawyers to appear as representing you, but I believe that if you are there in person they can only offer advice rather than actual representation.

I read the article expecting that the dude filed the suit and AT&T never appeared, so he got a default judgement. But no, he won fair and square.
 
2012-02-25 12:53:50 AM

James F. Campbell: vudukungfu: bullshiat

Are you drunk or just stupid?


I don't see why those have to be mutually exclusive.
 
2012-02-25 01:00:40 AM
Ah I remember when I signed a contract with AT&T for cell service. The step above the lowest talk plan + unlimited data = and I had a phone bill around $90 a month. Way too much for phone service.... -_-

eudemonist: There is no such thing as "unlimited data". The information content of the universe is finite.


Unlimited data as in no quota cap before service is disconnected and/or you will be charged by each megabyte. There is a cap to start being throttled in fine print on most cell phone providers and even some ISPs. Sure there might be a finite amount of information but just because you have been to every page, video, image, etc., it doesn't mean that every one of these things will be stored in your cache. So you will need to download the information again.
 
2012-02-25 01:08:36 AM
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat?
 
2012-02-25 01:16:03 AM

steamingpile: Warlordtrooper: IANAL can anyone explain why they can't be hit with false advertising charges for using the term "unlimited"

They never guaranteed the speed at which you connected to said service with so technically 300kbs is still unlimited data service.

Also this is just a local judge, not a superior court justice judge.



There are no courts below superior court in California now. Just because it's small claims or a pro-tem judge doesn't change make it not the Superior Court of Ventura County. Heck, even traffic is a criminal matter in California ("infractions" being below "misdemeanor" and "felony" on the hierarchy of "public offenses") and heard in a county Superior Court (albeit often in front of a commissioner instead of a judge).
 
2012-02-25 01:27:23 AM

BStorm: James F. Campbell: vudukungfu: bullshiat

Are you drunk or just stupid?

I don't see why those have to be mutually exclusive.


I also have no farking clue what those words he cobbled together are supposed to mean.
 
2012-02-25 01:41:28 AM

erveek: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat?


That could have been me!
 
2012-02-25 01:46:26 AM

zez: WhyteRaven74: I sound fat: This is a problem in our society.

Yeah that needs to be made illegal, no customer should at any time be made to sign away their ability to sue or join a class action suit.

or a jury trial. Isn't that one of the basic rights?


I think the part about inability to deny a jury trial is a restriction on the government in criminal cases, so they can't deny an accused person the right to a jury trial (at least not under normal circumstances), but I believe the accused can still waive that right voluntarily.

What I was taught is that the biggest reason criminal proceedings get such special protections is because they are most likely to involve the possible deprivation of someone's constitutionally protected rights (particularly life and liberty), and that's not something that should be taken lightly.

There are laws in some states that forbid these sorts of clauses, but generally the business in question simply will not do business there, or else they employ a loophole in another law, such as federal law, to get around the restrictions. In most cases though, they tend to fall back on 'Signing this contract constitutes a voluntary waiver of your rights' and they know that the vast majority of people won't ever read the contract and find that, let alone understand all of the ramifications, and of the few who do, most can't afford the costly legal battle that would likely ensue, and the government isn't likely to step in unless things get really bad.

/at least that's how I see it
 
2012-02-25 01:49:13 AM

madden101: Also, what's an "unemployed truck driver?" If he's a truck driver, then he's not unemployed; if he's unemployed, then he's not exactly a truck driver. Or is the author just noting the plaintiff's preferred mode of transportation?


Alright, I have to threadjack this to say:
Go fark yourself. I don't know if you are being sincere, or just making a joke, but go fark yourself. You train for something, you are that something. I doubt you'd make the same claim if it was an unemployed doctor or teacher.
 
2012-02-25 02:26:54 AM
steamingpile: Of course they are assholes just like every other wireless provider, whats you point?

Assholes come in different sizes, do you prefer to deal with the smallest asshole you can, or a big gaping goat asshole?
 
2012-02-25 03:13:40 AM
AT&T is evil.

Hate them so much.

I've used 2.06 gb of data this month and got a message saying I'm in the top 5% of data users.

Either that is bullshiat, or it says about how crappy their network is.
 
2012-02-25 05:03:00 AM
AT&T forbids them from consolidating their claims into a class action or taking them to a jury trial

Why exactly the hell is it that they can get away with putting that in their contracts? Does the fact that it's in the contracts simply mean that if somebody tries to arrange a class action suit anyway, they have another nasty hurdle to deal with? One which may have already been ruled in megacorps' favor in SCOTUS or other high court precedent?

Blocking class action means that local courts could in theory incur a lot more costs via large numbers of small-claims filers, while in exchange AT&T gets insulated from the likelihood that a case would be fought on behalf of people who don't have the connections or know-how to bring a case to court themselves. Why exactly do local courts put up with that? Is it one of those things ALEC has made sure nearly every state has on the books? Has this somehow always been valid contract law that's gotten routine these days?
 
2012-02-25 05:18:58 AM
The "Strain on the network" argument is pure horseshiat.

Here in Austria the preferred way to connect to the internet is via the 3G and 4 networks.

All the companies are selling internet sticks with unlimited data (no throttling) for around 10 a month.

Last month I downloaded around 50GB without any issues. Usually around 600-800K/second

If ATT's network sucks they should be simply build it up instead of pointing fingers and writing sneaky contracts.

Lack of regulations pure and simple. USA needs to start forcing these companies to keep in line
 
2012-02-25 06:06:10 AM
If only 1/2 of those 17 million customers file the same $850 suit this would = $7,225,000,000 in losses for AT&T.

I hope this steamrolls into something huge.

fark AT&T
 
2012-02-25 08:00:06 AM
As others have said, this is probably way better for him that being part of a class action. I've been a member of "the class" in several class action lawsuits. Usually the amount of work involved in documenting my class membership works out to about 25 cents an hour. There have been a couple where I submitted the simple form to the court, since that's all that was required.

In a utility class action, I think we got back $5.00 a month for 12 months. In a cell phone class action, we got wired mono earbuds. To be fair, we had some service credit choices in the cellphone one, but we weren't using those services at the time (texting and mobile web).

If AT&T's iPhone users were allowed to go class action, this would probably eventually get to a settlement of several million if not tens of millions of dollars. The class action plaintiff's attorneys ("attorneys plaintiff"?) gets 1/3 to 1/2 of the settlement, and the rest of the class gets 10 bucks in service credit and an agreement not to throttle below 5 GB or something.

If only a few thousand users file small claims torts for this, it could turn out much better for them than a class action in terms of actual damages.

/On another note, I'm wondering if Verizon is blocking certain URLs on LTE; I haven't been able to get Fark Mobile to load on LTE, but if I switch to 3G, it will load on my phone.
//No, my speed tests show that I am not "throttled," I got 13 down, 9 up this morning.
///VZW's stated throttling policy is more reasonable.
 
2012-02-25 08:17:35 AM
I can't understand how any contract can stop a class action lawsuit for wrong doing, wrong doing is still wrong doing regardless of any contract. I don't get how a company can restrict a right in the constitution just because it wants to. Everyone has the right to a trial by jury. That sort of contract needs to be taken down and made illegal.
 
2012-02-25 09:05:06 AM

Warlordtrooper: IANAL can anyone explain why they can't be hit with false advertising charges for using the term "unlimited"

It's one thing to have hidden text in the contract but if the advertisement says its unlimited wouldn't false advertising laws kick in if it becomes limited.


They aren't capping your data limit per se; they're merely throttling back the speed at which you transfer said data between your phone and their network. They're advertisting unlimited DATA, not unlimited SPEED. Huuuuuuge difference.

I don't really see what's the big deal about throttling. They're not setting bandwidth caps (like what AT&T does for their U-Verse service...which last time I checked was I think 80GB a month? I mean really?), they're merely saying that if you go above a predetermined amount of transferred data that places you in the Top 5% of their users; you're going to get slowed down. At the end of the day you're paying for a service on a privately owned network. You can either play by their rules, or find a new carrier to have a business relationship with.
 
2012-02-25 09:21:46 AM

steamingpile: Also this is just a local judge, not a superior court justice judge.


Interestingly, in many jurisdictions, "superior court" is one of the lowest courts. It's "superior" in that it has general jurisdiction to hear criminal, civil, probate, family matters, etc., as opposed to a "limited" court that can only hear some of those.
 
2012-02-25 09:54:16 AM

ilikeracecars: You train for something, you are that something. I doubt you'd make the same claim if it was an unemployed doctor or teacher.


Well, I was making a joke, but now that I see I've raised your ire, perhaps I wasn't. Just because you train for something doesn't mean you are that something. People get degrees and training in one field all the time, but end up working in another field altogether. In an extreme example, what would you call a homeless, unemployed person who had specialized training in a particular field (let's say doctor or teacher, just for kicks) but hasn't been employed in that field for years? I suspect news media outlets would refer to him as homeless or unemployed first, and a former doctor or teacher second.

ilikeracecars: Go fark yourself.


No, you go fark yourself. Na na na na na naaa.
 
2012-02-25 09:58:07 AM

I sound fat:
/ I know that you dont have to sign it, and I know no one should EVER sign a binding arbitration agreement, but still, it circumvents the laws.


So it circumvents consumer protection law? Interesting... so it's not a legally binding contract then.
 
2012-02-25 10:04:56 AM

quick_thinkfast: The "Strain on the network" argument is pure horseshiat.

Here in Austria the preferred way to connect to the internet is via the 3G and 4 networks.

All the companies are selling internet sticks with unlimited data (no throttling) for around 10 a month.

Last month I downloaded around 50GB without any issues. Usually around 600-800K/second

If ATT's network sucks they should be simply build it up instead of pointing fingers and writing sneaky contracts.

Lack of regulations pure and simple. USA needs to start forcing these companies to keep in line


Same here, I could get a smartphone with wifi, unlimited internet and tethering encouraged for under £20. I went for a good phone so I pay £35 and can download and UPLOAD gigabytes a day. Actually unlimited. No traffic shaping or anything like that. Poor poor USA. Must be hard being the best in the world when you just aren`t...
 
2012-02-25 10:09:46 AM

TheEdibleSnuggie: Warlordtrooper: IANAL can anyone explain why they can't be hit with false advertising charges for using the term "unlimited"

It's one thing to have hidden text in the contract but if the advertisement says its unlimited wouldn't false advertising laws kick in if it becomes limited.

They aren't capping your data limit per se; they're merely throttling back the speed at which you transfer said data between your phone and their network. They're advertisting unlimited DATA, not unlimited SPEED. Huuuuuuge difference.

I don't really see what's the big deal about throttling. They're not setting bandwidth caps (like what AT&T does for their U-Verse service...which last time I checked was I think 80GB a month? I mean really?), they're merely saying that if you go above a predetermined amount of transferred data that places you in the Top 5% of their users; you're going to get slowed down. At the end of the day you're paying for a service on a privately owned network. You can either play by their rules, or find a new carrier to have a business relationship with.


Yeah, about that - in most of America there's only one carrier in town. Two if your town has cable service & DSL service.

/okay, more than two if you include dial-up and satellite, but the former is useless for anything beyond checking email and the latter is too expensive to be worth it in places where other options are available
 
2012-02-25 10:10:56 AM

Smackledorfer: I also have no farking clue what those words he cobbled together are supposed to mean.


You bought your ticket.
You knew what you were getting into.
 
2012-02-25 12:28:35 PM

erveek: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat?


winner
 
2012-02-25 12:33:52 PM

ilikeracecars: madden101: Also, what's an "unemployed truck driver?" If he's a truck driver, then he's not unemployed; if he's unemployed, then he's not exactly a truck driver. Or is the author just noting the plaintiff's preferred mode of transportation?

Alright, I have to threadjack this to say:
Go fark yourself. I don't know if you are being sincere, or just making a joke, but go fark yourself. You train for something, you are that something. I doubt you'd make the same claim if it was an unemployed doctor or teacher.


Who ever heard of an unemployed doctor?
 
2012-02-25 01:36:59 PM

dready zim:
Same here, I could get a smartphone with wifi, unlimited internet and tethering encouraged for under £20. I went for a good phone so I pay £35 and can download and UPLOAD gigabytes a day. Actually unlimited. No traffic shaping or anything like that. Poor poor USA. Must be hard being the best in the world when you just aren`t...


It is quite odd to read about T-Mobile US doing freaky shiat whilst being connected to T-Mobile UK and them not giving a crap until you blaze past 2GB of traffic a month isn't it?

Or are you on 3?

/iPad is on 3's PayG system, pretty good actually.
 
2012-02-25 01:53:10 PM

Fark Me To Tears: FTFA: AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said the company will appeal the judge's ruling.

"At the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers," he said.

Specifically, he's talking about the part of the contract that says AT&T has the right to change the terms of the contract whenever they feel like it. Sure, we'll sell you something called an "unlimited" plan, but WE will determine what unlimited actually means. If you don't like it, sue us. Otherwise, pay your bill and STFU.


Doesn't this make the contract's promise illusory?
 
2012-02-25 01:56:08 PM

The Corporation:
Doesn't this make the contract's promise illusory?


INAL but yes it appears to. I'd also wonder if the contract was instantly terminable should you not agree to the changed terms. Both parties need to be informed of and agree to any changes made to a contract.
 
2012-02-25 01:59:27 PM

Thisbymaster: I can't understand how any contract can stop a class action lawsuit for wrong doing, wrong doing is still wrong doing regardless of any contract. I don't get how a company can restrict a right in the constitution just because it wants to. Everyone has the right to a trial by jury. That sort of contract needs to be taken down and made illegal.


Well, there are three things here:
1) Class action lawsuits are not guaranteed by the constitution. They are a procedural device and a creature of statute.
2) An absolute right to a jury trial generally exists in criminal proceedings only. That a civil claimant would be denied access to a jury is nothing new or patently unconstitutional. Civil matters are often dealt with in a summary fashion- i.e. a judge can decide a civil matter on its merits all on her lonesome.
3) It is wholly possible to make such contract provisions illegal, but it will require effort and I think Survivor is on, so....
 
2012-02-25 02:09:51 PM

vegasj: If only 1/2 of those 17 million customers file the same $850 suit this would = $7,225,000,000 in losses for AT&T.

I hope this steamrolls into something huge.

fark AT&T


Even if 10,000 people individually file claims it would clog the courts. I bet that would be enough for the government to step in. I also would imagine AT&T would rather deal with a class action suit than pay lawyers for 10,000 cases.

That $850 was more than he ever would get from a class action suit.
 
2012-02-25 02:23:30 PM

Vaneshi: The Corporation:
Doesn't this make the contract's promise illusory?

INAL but yes it appears to. I'd also wonder if the contract was instantly terminable should you not agree to the changed terms. Both parties need to be informed of and agree to any changes made to a contract.


No, it is unlikely that the promise is illusory. Illusory promises are when a person offers a non-existent consideration. For instance, If I hold a promissory note and, in exchange for a cut of his business profits, I promise the obligee that I won't call the debt in until I need it. I haven't actually exchanged anything for the cut of the profits- by the terms of the agreement I can freely call the debt in whenever I like. This situation is different because the service provider has actually proffered consideration. They exchange their services for your money. The fact that there is an easy escape hatch does not make the promise illusory.
Also, while it is true that a change in terms usually requires a new offer and acceptance, I would be willing to wager that a notice of a change in the terms is accompanied by language to the effect that continued use of the service is an acceptance of the new terms. It only seems like the change in terms was not agreed-to because you didn't actually read the pages of tiny type that they send with your bill.

You don't have to like this, and it's reasonable to disagree with it as a matter of policy, but that's the way it is.
 
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