SAN DIEGO (CN) – AT&T “secretly and deceptively” inflates the amount of data transferred through customers’ cell phones, then charges for “three to five times the actual data usage and transfer,” a class action claims in Federal Court. “These overcharges are concealed from the customer,” and cannot be traced “without the use of an expert in the field and access to AT&T’s internal engineering reports,” the class claims.
“At bottom, AT&T’s systems improperly measure data usage and data transfer, by three to five times the actual amount. These overcharges are concealed from the customer. This case is a high-tech version of a gas pump meter that incorrectly measures the gallons of gas being pumped and then applies the per gallon charge to the fraudulent measure of gas, so that the consumer pays more than is proper,” the complaint states.
Lead plaintiff Guardian Corp. says its own “expert” had to work with AT&T to find out why its data usage and transfer charges were “excessively high.”
“Bandwidth reports and AT&T’s internal engineering reports showed that the actual data usage and data transfer by Guardian were, as a matter of corporate policy, being misrepresented by AT T’s system,” the complaint states. “As a result, only by using this independent third-party expert could the inflated data figures be confirmed. The investigation further revealed that the programs and systems used by AT&T inflated the data usage and data transfer to amounts that far exceeded actual usage.”
Two individuals signed on as class representatives along with Guardian. They seek restitution and punitive damages for unfair business practices and fraud. They are represented by Norman Blumenthal with Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik of La Jolla.