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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:04 PM   #1
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iPhone User Awarded $850 in Judgment Against AT&T Over Throttling




Associated Press reports that an iPhone user in California has been awarded $850 in a small claims lawsuit filed against AT&T over throttling of data speeds. The user, who was on a grandfathered unlimited data plan, saw his data speeds drastically slashed once he reached 1.5-2 GB in a given month, even as other users on limited 3 GB plans at the same price see no similar restrictions at those levels.
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Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli in Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley. Spaccarelli filed a small claims case against AT&T last month, arguing the communications giant unfairly slows speeds on his iPhone 4's unlimited data plan.

Nadel's ruling could pave the way for others to follow suit. AT&T has some 17 million customers with "unlimited data" plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of the company's smartphone users.
There is no word yet on whether AT&T will appeal the decision, but the sales manager representing AT&T in the case has argued that the carrier reserved the right to "modify or cancel" or cancel customer contracts if their usage is adversely affecting the company's network capabilities. The article notes that a class action suit might be the normal evolution of such a complaint, but AT&T's subscriber contract prohibits class action or jury trials, leaving arbitration and small claims as the options.




AT&T began throttling unlimited data customers ranking in the top 5% of data users last October. But while early reports of throttling came mostly from high-volume users consuming in excess of 10 GB of data per month, reports of users being throttled at much lower levels in the neighborhood of 2 GB have been increasing. AT&T notes that the throttling is done on a case-by-case basis and only if there are network capacity issues in the customer's area, but for those who are affected, the throttled speeds are slow enough to make their devices nearly unusable.

Update: AT&T issued this statement to MacRumors: "This is a small claims matter. We are evaluating next steps, including appeal. But at the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers."

Article Link: iPhone User Awarded $850 in Judgment Against AT&T Over Throttling
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:07 PM   #2
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Good News, a step in the right direction.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:08 PM   #3
kalex
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Good for him. About time and hopefully this will get others to do the same. Enough is enough
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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And people wonder why AT&T was rated worst carrier 2 years in a row. Because they are.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Koodauw View Post
Good News, a step in the right direction.
Yep, first step is always important
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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Score one for customers and proliferation of the Internet.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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Next step, class action?!!?
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:09 PM   #8
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nice Im expecting to receive another class action settlement check in the near future
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:10 PM   #9
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At $850, he's doing them a favor so they realize they need to stop doing this or lose customers.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:11 PM   #10
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Next step, class action?!!?
Class actions are dumb. Only the lawyers win in the end.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:11 PM   #11
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Nice!
Glad to see a judge recognized the BS in how they choose to throttle.

I understand the need in some cases, but throttling unlimited users who are below 3GB but are paying the same price as someone on a 3GB limited plan was begging for a lawsuit.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:11 PM   #12
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:11 PM   #13
arn
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Originally Posted by rhett7660 View Post
Next step, class action?!!?
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nice Im expecting to receive another class action settlement check in the near future
Apparently AT&T's subscriber agreement prohibits class action suits. not sure if that's enforceable, but it's there.

arn
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:11 PM   #14
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I can see this as the beginning of the end for us grandfathered "unlimited" folks. AT&T will use this loss as a reason to just do away with the grandfathered unlimited plans all together.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:12 PM   #15
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Same issue with me. Los Angeles area, last month used around 1.25GB, got a message saying my speeds would be throttled. Pisses me off really, 1/2 of the data ATT sells in their tiered bucket, yet I'm in the top 5% of users?
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:13 PM   #16
Laird Knox
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Clear does the same thing on their 4G service. How can throttling be considered "unlimited?"
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:13 PM   #17
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Apparently AT&T's subscriber agreement prohibits class action suits. not sure if that's enforceable, but it's there.

arn
Hmm Ive recieved checks for them before,They've been hit with a couple of suits the last one I remember was funnily enough over sim locks
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:13 PM   #18
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When users get throttled - they should use the RootMetrics coverage app and start running tests.

When the throttled user's slow as molasses data speeds start bringing down the provider's scores then maybe the provider will care more.

Data speed wars are ramping up and having your scores hammered would hurt...
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by stisdal View Post
I can see this as the beginning of the end for us grandfathered "unlimited" folks. AT&T will use this loss as a reason to just do away with the grandfathered unlimited plans all together.
It's inevitable, I mean could we really imagine ATT still allowing unlimited plans 10 years from now? Hell, they'll probably throttle at 1GB by then.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:14 PM   #20
woodlandbunny
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I signed a petition

I believe this is a great step forward in stopping AT&T Wireless from unfairly charging us for something and then throttling on the speed.

I even signed a petition I found on change.org:
http://www.change.org/petitions/att-data-throttle

Lost of people have signed this and I believe this will help.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:14 PM   #21
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Good for him! Now I'm not paying my EFT. We can head to court on this matter.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:14 PM   #22
DerekRod
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Originally Posted by valkraider View Post
When users get throttled - they should use the RootMetrics coverage app and start running tests.

When the throttled user's slow as molasses data speeds start bringing down the provider's scores then maybe the provider will care more.

Data speed wars are ramping up and having your scores hammered would hurt...
THIS^^^^^ is an excellent idea,Though im afraid this may be the end of our unlimited data which I believe they have the right to do so in contract.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:15 PM   #23
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AT&T is too cheap to install actual working antennas and stuff so they'll just point the finger at people using a measly 2GB and blame them for the general slowness.
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:15 PM   #24
rusty2192
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So where did the $850 value come from? Over a 24 month contract, that would be ~$35/month. The plan is $30/month and they have only been throttling for less than a year. Or can you get punitive damages in small claims court?

Edit: I see this now in the source link: "The customer contract specifies that those who win an award from the company in arbitration will get at least $10,000. Spaccarelli picked the same amount for his claim. Judge Nadel instead awarded him $85 for each of the 10 months left on his contract."
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 03:16 PM   #25
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I can see this as the beginning of the end for us grandfathered "unlimited" folks. AT&T will use this loss as a reason to just do away with the grandfathered unlimited plans all together.
Yep, but it was going to end sooner or later anyhow.
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