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  • Judge Rules Against AT&T in Data Throttling Case



    A California judge’s ruling in small claims case could help consumers affected by AT&T’s data throttling policies.

    The Associated Press reported today Judge Russel Nadel ruled in favor of Matt Spaccarelli in Ventura Superior Court in a small claims case against AT&T. Spaccarelli argued that AT&T unfairly slowed data speeds on his iPhone 4’s unlimited data plan. Judge Nadel awarded Spaccarelli $850 in his decision against AT&T.

    Last October AT&T officially started throttling the data of the top 5% of data users and eventually made it clear that only those with unlimited data plans would be affected. AT&T used this move as a way to influence grand-fathered unlimited data users into changing to a tiered plan. AT&T has nearly 17 million customers still operating on unlimited data plans that can be throttled which is just under half of the company’s smartphone users according to the AP.

    AT&T Area Sales Manager Peter Hartlove argued in court that “his employer has the right to modify or cancel customers’ contracts if their data usage adversely affects the network.” AT&T could appeal the decision but, only released the following brief comment:

    “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.”

    Hopefully this is a small step in the right direction for consumers in the fight against throttling data use and bringing back unlimited data plans.

    Source: The AP [via 9to5Mac]
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Judge Rules Against AT&T in Data Throttling Case started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. DoWoRkSoN's Avatar
      DoWoRkSoN -
      I'm getting ready to take them to small claims soon myself!!!!
    1. jose060789's Avatar
      jose060789 -
      AT&T has a fast data network but sometimes when I'm out and about I don't always have full bars, which can be really frustrating and let's not forget about all the people who are grandfathered and are throttled for high usage of data.
    1. ehren88888's Avatar
      ehren88888 -
      Great news!!! I used 7GB in one month (the most I've ever used) in the 8 years I've had AT&T. I only stream video and talk radio at work and I got the text for the first time. Apps I pay for should not be restricted. I am not downloading illegal music or movies. I am worried that once MLB baseball starts with MLB at bat 2012 and my MLB.tv subscription AT&T will throttle me. I DON'T GIVE A F***, TRACE MY PHONE THAT I USE THIS SERVICE THAT I PAY $120 FOR THE REGULAR SEASON!!!
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      A small step in the right direction. I understand AT&T protecting their infrastructure from data guzzlers, but there are many reports of throttling happening at the 2GB mark. Certainly that doesn't put you into the top 5%.
    1. Lecram25's Avatar
      Lecram25 -
      This is asinine.

      While I do not approve of American Thugs & Thieves as a whole, unlimited is unlimited. There is no stipulation about time anywhere in the contract. The customer will indeed have access to as much data as he or she can consume without the penalty of being charged some coin post a certain mark or denied data access entirely.

      If you don't like it, then leave AT&T!

      Shame on the uneducated judge.
    1. zerocool5878's Avatar
      zerocool5878 -
      I wonder how many people will win these law suits before they let off the throttling a bit. I firmly believe that throttling should not commence until at least a 3 month average of 3gigs is reached.
    1. d1sposition's Avatar
      d1sposition -
      Quote Originally Posted by jose060789 View Post
      AT&T has a fast data network but sometimes when I'm out and about I don't always have full bars, which can be really frustrating and let's not forget about all the people who are grandfathered and are throttled for high usage of data.
      Correct me if I'm wrong but i don't think signal bars have any representation of data signal strength... When I'm at work my bars drop all the way off completely and dont come back until i leave and I cant make calls but I can still receive data (on Edge).
    1. businesssuit's Avatar
      businesssuit -
      All customer's on AT&T you need to teach them a lesson. If it takes small claims court to hit them hard before going to a higher court so be it!!!

      America can't stand for this crap!!! Dump AT&T
    1. pwnerman0311's Avatar
      pwnerman0311 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      A small step in the right direction. I understand AT&T protecting their infrastructure from data guzzlers, but there are many reports of throttling happening at the 2GB mark. Certainly that doesn't put you into the top 5%.
      its based on individual markets what the top 5% is one place is different in another place
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      I think AT&T and all other carriers have a right to cancel service of people who abuse their networks. its not fair to the rest of us (who pay $250 a month for 3 lines) whose service is affected by abusers.
    1. Parana6's Avatar
      Parana6 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jOnGarrett View Post
      I think AT&T and all other carriers have a right to cancel service of people who abuse their networks. its not fair to the rest of us (who pay $250 a month for 3 lines) whose service is affected by abusers.
      And when did you got your smart phone. Are you grandfathered on it?
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      The real issue at hand is the underlying ability for merchants/vendors/manufacturers to write bizarre contracts that stipulate that they can make any change they want at any time they want and your choice is to stop using the service if you don't agree. This goes back to the 'shrinkwrap license agreements' days when MS et al would create bizarre agreements that took effect when you opened the package -- which you had to do to get to the license agreement: you were agreeing to some draconian verbiage before you even had a chance to read it.

      That practice eventually got tossed by the courts and this same you're-our-*****-forever attitude on the part of providers needs to be tossed in the same way.
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      I guess we will have to check with Bill Clinton to find out what "unlimited" means !
    1. vantheman169's Avatar
      vantheman169 -
      I got an email saying my mom has been tethering and shes currently on the 30 dollar 3 GB package a month. She uses about 2.5 GB of her 3 GB that she has purchased and just because she is tethering using MyWi they want to switch her to the $50 5 GB dollar tethering plan when she does not even use that much Data. They said they are automatically enrolling us at our next billing cycle. What should I do? I think its complete HorseCRAP that i cannot use my data the way i want. I could understand if she was going over her limit....but shes not.
    1. trek-life's Avatar
      trek-life -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lecram25 View Post
      This is asinine.

      While I do not approve of American Thugs & Thieves as a whole, unlimited is unlimited. There is no stipulation about time anywhere in the contract. The customer will indeed have access to as much data as he or she can consume without the penalty of being charged some coin post a certain mark or denied data access entirely.

      If you don't like it, then leave AT&T!

      Shame on the uneducated judge.
      A faster network is promised and paid for. Period, good call by the judge
    1. reanimationxp's Avatar
      reanimationxp -
      Quote Originally Posted by d1sposition View Post
      Correct me if I'm wrong but i don't think signal bars have any representation of data signal strength... When I'm at work my bars drop all the way off completely and dont come back until i leave and I cant make calls but I can still receive data (on Edge).
      Good god, you could not be more wrong. The number of bars is indicative of signal strength, which is ABSOLUTELY directly related to the achievable data rate. If it wasn't why the hell do you think they'd display it? Signal strength will be different for both 3G and Edge of course, but calls are made on Edge and only on Edge, all the time. Also, if you have Edge, you have "data". 3G is just faster data.
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      Sued for 850 dollars what a dent in atts cash
    1. jose060789's Avatar
      jose060789 -
      Quote Originally Posted by reanimationxp View Post
      Good god, you could not be more wrong. The number of bars is indicative of signal strength, which is ABSOLUTELY directly related to the achievable data rate. If it wasn't why the hell do you think they'd display it? Signal strength will be different for both 3G and Edge of course, but calls are made on Edge and only on Edge, all the time. Also, if you have Edge, you have "data". 3G is just faster data.
      +1
    1. SethChas's Avatar
      SethChas -
      Hmm might have to try this. I bet an San Francisco judge would rule against the too.
    1. rdc1093's Avatar
      rdc1093 -
      I kno this is so dumb. I've been getting those messages the past couple of months because I've been using iTunes match. I've been paying for the unlimited data for 4 yrs now and now they're slowing my bandwidth because I want to use iTunes match?! this is some bull I hope this decision rallies everyone up and forces AT&T change some stuff!