Of Used Car Salesmen and Cell Phone Companies

Cell Phone companies are definitely the used car salesmen of the modern age. If it weren’t for banks, they would be the least trusted business in America. It is hard to find anyone, who at some time hasn’t had a billing “surprise” or an issue with their Cell Phone company over billing.

So it isn’t really a surprise that the big carriers get sued. What is unusual is when the litigant has the resources to make a case.

Lawsuit claims AT&T cheats iPhone, iPad owners on data

AT&T has “systematically” overcharged iPhone and iPad owners with capped data plans by inflating the amount of data they download and adding “phantom traffic,” a lawsuit claimed last week.

AT&T said it would “vigorously” fight the suit.

The complaint, filed by Patrick Hendricks in federal court in California, claims that a “significant portion” of AT&T’s $1.1 billion of wireless revenue gains last quarter came from the bogus charges and overbilling.

Hendricks’ lawyers asked a judge to grant the lawsuit class-action status, which if approved, would open up the case to millions of iPhone and iPadowners in the U.S.

Citing evidence obtained by a consulting firm hired by Henricks’ attorneys, the lawsuit said that AT&T regularly overstates incoming data between 7% and 14%, and in some cases by as much as 300%. Continue reading

Lawsuit Goes After Apple, AT&T iPhony Contracts

At Last! Someone has needed to take on the abusive cell phone “contracts”. and this just may be the vehicle.

Antitrust Suit Against Apple, AT&T OKed

Bought iPhone with a 2-year plan? You’re in on class action lawsuit

A federal judge says a monopoly abuse lawsuit against Apple and AT&T’s mobile phone unit can move forward as a class action. The lawsuit consolidates several filed by iPhone buyers starting in late 2007, a few months after the first generation of Apple’s smart phone went on sale, and takes issue with Apple’s practice of “locking” iPhones so they can only be used on AT&T’s network, and its absolute control over what applications can be installed on the phone.

The lawsuit also says Apple secretly made AT&T its exclusive US partner for five years. Consumers agreed to two-year contracts with the Dallas-based wireless carrier when they purchased their phones, but were in effect locked into a five-year relationship with AT&T, the lawsuit argues. The class includes anyone who bought an iPhone with a two-year AT&T agreement since the device first went on sale in June 2007. While the judge OKed antitrust portions of the suit, he dismissed other charges, including complaints about the OS update that “bricked” many phones.

Wireless Wars – Subscribers Fight Back

Everyone by now has seen the Verizon Ads about their chief rival, AT&T, and their lack of coverage. My personal favorite is Santa checking the Reindeer -

Needless to say, Verizons commercials have generated a great deal of angst at AT&T.

AT&T has had a chokehold on what is arguably the best cell phone in the market, the IPhone, since it’s introduction. They have been able to charge premium prices for the phone, as well as add ons for the service.  The service quality has been less than stellar, despite the premium prices. Subscribers are hopping mad – and at least some, are striking back…

Frustrated Subscribers Target AT&T

Thanks to the runaway success of the iPhone, AT&T has the largest wireless network in the country—and the lousiest. Fed-up subscribers, who pay the telco about $30 a month just for data (and another $40 or so for voice), are planning an assault this Friday called Operation Chokehold.

The idea is to cripple AT&T’s network in order to draw attention to its weakness. To do so, participating iPhone users will run data-heavy applications over AT&T’s 3G network on Friday from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific time.

The plan was apparently launched by the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, a popular blog that satirically impersonates the Apple CEO, but Operation Chokehold has since gained steam with notices popping up on other tech blogs.

It shouldn’t take much to buckle AT&T’s network—it has trouble functioning under normal conditions. Whether the company will do anything in response is another matter. Verizon has blanketed the country in ads mocking its chief rival’s network—ads that wouldn’t be so effective if they didn’t ring true. AT&T tried to sue, but gave up in the end.

The company promised to improve its network in New York and San Francisco—two known problem areas—but don’t hold out hope. AT&T appears as if it is looking for ways to discourage users from using its product—the network—or at least charging them more, according to wireless chief Ralph de la Vega.

Is this the beginning of a new level of consumer rage, kicking back against the dubious business practices of American Corprations which over the last 20 years have become more similar to organized crime than capitalist enitities competing with better products and prices?

Wireless companies have also benefited hugely from a Bushit era Federal Communications Commission run by Michael Powell which couldn’t see a merger or acquisition that could possibly lead to a a monopoly – shrinking the number of competitors and eliminating smaller more technically inventive companies along the way (as well as a few million high-tech jobs). They have also benefited from the evisceration of the Federal Trade Commission, virtually eliminating any semblance of consumer rights, allowing draconian cancellation fees, abusive contract terms, and deceptive practices – leading to “$20,000 phone bills“.

Consumer push back?

What took so long?

Frustrated Subscribers Target AT&T

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