AT&T Sued Over Alleged Phantom Traffic, Inflated Data Charges

An iPhone user in California is suing AT&T for supposedly inflating his data usage and charging him for data transfers that never took place. To confirm his suspicions, Patrick Hendricks hired a consulting firm to test his claims. They claim to have found AT&T regularly inflated incoming data transfers between seven to fourteen percent, and up to as much as 300 percent.

To further test their theory, the firm monitored data charges for 10 days on an iPhone with all push notifications shut off, location function disabled, no active apps and no email account set-up. AT&T reported 2.2 MB of data usage for the phone.

Hendricks claims that not only was he charged for data transfers that never took place, but the practice curtailed his use to the point that he feared taking full advantage of the data he was allotted for his $15 per month plan which allowed for 200 MB data.

Other users have chimed in with similar experiences, citing multiple megabyte drains literally overnight, when phones were inactive.

If the lawsuit is deemed to have merit, it could turn into a class-action suit involving millions of AT&T subscribers who use capped data plans. It would not include those who are covered under an unlimited plan.

The timing could not be worse for AT&T, as some experts suggest they could lose approximately 25% of their users to Verizon. It also coincides with rumors that AT&T may be allowing once-unlimited users unhappy with their capped plans to return to their former plans. Apple has not been named as a defendant in the case.

[InfoWorld] [Computerworld]

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