Court Tells Cingular It Can't Deny Lawyers Chance To Make Money

from the how-dare-you dept

The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against mobile operator Cingular (now called AT&T) can proceed, despite a clause in the contracts it has subscribers sign preventing them from starting such actions. The suit in question alleges that Cingular overcharged some customers in the state for some roaming and long-distance calls, with a lawyer for the customers saying they were overcharged by $1 to $40 per month. Will this help the customers recover the charges and receive compensation in line with the overcharging? That seems unlikely, since all that's really happened is the court's given lawyers a green light to pursue a paycheck.

Filed Under: class action, overcharge
Companies: cingular

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2007 @ 9:20am

    Re: only the lawyers really benefit

    If money paid to the consumer is the only benefit that would satisfy you, then you won't be satisfied.

    However, there are other benefits:
    - Paying lots of money (even only) to the plaintiff's lawyers can deter bad actions in the future. That is a benefit to all their customers.
    - The bad publicity can affect their future sales - another deterence.
    - Perhaps the government will investigate them if enough stink is made over the lawsuit.

    I could go on; but the points are that:
    1) Individual consumers have zero leverage/power to affect their own treatment. Going to another supplier may get the same bad treatment - if one can even be found.
    2) Doing nothing just encourages more unethical treatment.

    I am not a lawyer. I am a citizen that does not like to be maltreated.

    Everyone hates lawyers - until they need one. Without lawyers, who would we go to for help?

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