Last week, a man in California made headlines after his small claims court victory over AT&T for the wireless provider’s throttling of his unlimited data plan. Since then, a number of AT&T customers have wondered if they also have grounds for a complaint.
Over at MacTech.com, lawyer Bradley Sniderman offers some tips — which he is quick to point out is not actual legal advice, just information on the process of filing a small claims court complaint — for anyone thinking of challenging the Death Star on the throttling issue. Among the items:
*Be sure to have a copy of your contract and to review it: “You may be able to use these terms to show that AT&T does not have the right to slow your data speed,” writes Sniderman.
*You will need to demonstrate that you have an unlimited plan and that AT&T throttled your data speed: “You next have to argue that AT&T has no right to charge you a fee for unlimited data, and then not supply it,” Sniderman explains. “It is not your fault that AT&T can’t keep up with demand for data. If you can even show that you are using less data that some of the fixed rate plans, such as the 3 gigabyte plans, that is even better.”
*Make sure you have an amount for damages: You should be able to show the court that the data throttling had a negative effect on you or your business. “This could be by showing lost business opportunities or showing how much you have paid for the service you never got,” says Sniderman.
As for where you can file your complaint against AT&T, Sniderman believes that since AT&T has such a nationwide presence, you could likely walk on down to the small claims court near you.
Of course, it was AT&T that successfully petitioned the Supreme Court last year to rule that the mandatory binding arbitration clauses in its contracts effectively prohibit customers from combining their complaints into class-action lawsuits.
Now the company may need to fight a load of tiny legal battles all over the country, including states like California where lawyers are not even allowed to participate in small claims court.
How to fight AT&T data-throttling: Small-Claims Action [MacTech.com via 9to5mac.com]
Thanks to David for the tip!