from the playing-dirty dept
As you may have heard over the last couple months, AT&T has gone to war with customers who bought its “unlimited” data plans. While the company no longer offers such plans, existing users were grandfathered in. And they like those plans. AT&T, however, would prefer to move them over to tiered plans under which they’ll pay more. So it began throttling their connections. If they were using a fair amount of data (really not that much), it slowed their connection down to the point of being basically useless. This is a pure bait-and-switch tactic, where the company sold customers something that it then failed to deliver.
A guy named Matt Spaccarelli felt that this was a clear breach of contract and sued in small claims court… and won $850 ($85 is his monthly fee, and the judge felt that there were 10 months left on the contract that was violated… so, $850). Spaccarelli then also set up a website with all the details, so that others could file their own lawsuits. Apparently, AT&T is none too pleased about this and is playing hardball with the guy, threatening to cut off his phone service after determining that he used the phone to tether.
How nice, right? Beat AT&T in small claims court, and they’ll potentially cut off your phone service.
Separately, they’re trying to “settle” with him, but are pissed off that he’s been public about the settlement attempts so far, as the key thing in the mind of AT&T lawyers and execs is getting a gag order in place to stop others from going down the same path. Of course, there’s no requirement that Spaccarelli settle or agree to any gag order, and it sounds like he’s not planning to:
Spaccarelli has posted online the documents he used to argue his case and encourages other AT&T customers copy his suit. Legal settlements usually include non-disclosure agreements that would force Spaccarelli to take down the documents.
In its letter, AT&T asked Spaccarelli to be quiet about the settlement talks, including the fact that it offered to start them, another common stipulation. Spaccarelli said he was not interested in settling, and forwarded the letter to The Associated Press.
Good for him.