Class Action Lawsuit Accuses AT&T of Overbilling

Paul Lilly

A federal class action lawsuit alleges "AT&T bills systematically overstate the amount of data used on each data transaction involving an iPhone or iPad account," Electronista reports . The lawsuit likens the situation to a tampered gas pump that "charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon."

Patrick Hendricks, who's named as the plaintiff in the suit, hired a consulting firm to investigate the matter. After a two month study, the firm alleges that Web traffic was frequently inflated by 7 to 14 percent, though sometimes as much as 300 percent. Because it's usually done in small increments, subscribers aren't likely to notice, though the cumulative effect could lead to a "significant portion" of AT&T's data revenues.

"Transparent and accurate billing is a top priority for AT&T," a company spokesperson told MacNN. "In fact, we've created tools that let our customers check their voice and data usage at any time during their billing cycle to help eliminate bill surprises. We have only recently learned of the complaint, but I can tell you that we intend to defend ourselves vigrorously."

The timing of the suit couldn't be any worse for AT&T, which is losing its exclusivity deal with Apple and it's iPhone once Verizon starts selling the device later this month.

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