iPhone Owner Successfully Sues AT&T Over Throttling His “Unlimited Data” Plan

Talk about a David vs Goliath battle. Matt Spaccerelli, an unemployed California truck driver, had enough for AT&T’s false “unlimited data” plan marketing.

Like thousands of other owners of smartphones who had been grandfathered into AT&T’s $30 monthly unlimited data plan, Spaccerelli discovered that AT&T was slowing his data downloads down to a trickle when he reached close to two gigabytes of data.

He said in small claims and and won $850, according to an AP report.

“Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel found in favor of Spaccarelli in Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley on Friday, saying it wasn’t fair for the company to purposely slow down his iPhone, when it had sold him an “unlimited data” plan,” AP said.

“AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said the company will appeal the judge’s ruling. “At the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers,” he said.

AT&T has about 17 million other customers who were grandfathered into the unlimited data plan after AT&T – running low on bandwidth – ended the plan in favor of a tiered plan. All these customers are subject to the same throttling issue. However, because of the contract they signed that only permits arbitration or small claims action, class action suits are out.
The irony is that for $30 a month an AT&T customer can received up to three gigabytes of data without throttling. Maybe its not an irony at all, but a plan by AT&T to pressure customers off the unlimited data plan.

Hopefully AT&T customers who live in Connecticut and other states where small claims awards cannot be appealed will sue AT&T over this issue.

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2 Comments on "iPhone Owner Successfully Sues AT&T Over Throttling His “Unlimited Data” Plan"

  1. I am having a similar problem my wireless company and I would like to know who and how I can get this company under control for their data plan usage. I was told that I used 5gbs of usage in one week(02/22/12) than what I used in a month (1/22/12) and they says there’s nothing they can do, so i have too go the rest of the month with no data.

    Who can help me?

    This is wrong to do someone like this and now I know how how Mr. Matt Spaccerelli feels or felt when this happened to him, all I want is straight justice.

    So if there is a lawyer out there that might see this email that can truely help, then please contact me at harolddstephens43gmail.com or please leave a message at 832-298-8185 and I will return the call.

    thank you, Harold

  2. Couldn’t states sue AT&T for false and deceptive trade practices? That would remove the need for small claims court and hit them on a multibillion dollar scale. As a simple example, if each customer is warranted half of what Mr. Spaccerelli received then that would be a $7,225,000,000 suit against them (using 17 million as the number of customers). Most customers, like myself, only want the throttle removed which leaves plenty of room for the states to take a generous share to help infuse their dwindling consumer protection budgets.

    Just a thought.

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