Ruined Smartphones Blamed on Software Update

(CN) – A class action filed in North Carolina claims that a software update by the maker of Aleatel OneTouch Idol smartphone greatly reduced the phone’s ability to connect to a high-speed wireless network.

In a complaint filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court, lead plaintiff Ella Matthews says she is one of the thousands of customers who purchased the Idol 3 smartphone produced by defendant TCL Communications specifically because of its advertised compatibility with LTE Band 12, a frequency on which mobile phones operate for high-speed wireless networks.

Matthews says this compatibility is important to her because it greatly improves the phone’s performance, particularly inside buildings and in densely developed urban environments.

But Matthews claims in the Dec. 28 complaint that a software update by TLC stripped all Idol 3 smartphones of LTE Band 12 capabilities, greatly reducing the functionality of the phones.

Matthews says she purchased her phone from Amazon for $249 in January 2015, and that the software update occurred one year later, without warning and without any notice that the phone would no longer function as it had previously.

According to the complaint, the removal of the LTE Band 12 capabilities resulted in widespread reports of users missing calls, dropped calls and missing texts.

In addition to TCL Communications, the other named defendants in the lawsuit are TCT Mobile (US) Inc. and TCT Mobile (US) Holding Inc.

Matthews seeks compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief on claims the defendant companies engaged in deceptive practices, false advertising, breach of express warranty and negligent misrepresentation.

She is represented by Scott Harris of Whitfield, Bryson & Mason in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Representatives of the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.