LOS ANGELES (CN) – A class action claims Sony exploits a flaw in wireless services by using “mobile content” systems that are prone to false billing for unauthorized charges. “While it has always been within the power of companies such as defendant to require simple and effective measures that would prevent this, they have instead knowingly promoted the very system that has allowed these erroneous charges,” according to the claim in Superior Court.
“The rapid and largely unplanned growth of the premium mobile content industry has … a disastrous flaw within it,” the complaint states. “That flaw – understood, perpetuated, and even encouraged by mobile content providers such as the instant defendants – is an open secret within the industry, but little understood outside of it. In short, the billing and collection systems established by companies including defendants in aid of the premium mobile content industry that enriches them are conspicuously free of any checks or safeguards to prevent erroneous and unauthorized charges from being added to customers’ bills. Defendants exploit this flaw by selling mobile content through the carriers’ mobile Internet application installed on consumers’ cellular telephones – commonly referred to as ‘on-deck’ transactions – as well as through a variety of other mediums such as television, radio and non-mobile Internet – collectively known as ‘off-deck’ transactions. As defendants also know, a significant amount of money has been collected on account of such unauthorized charges for premium mobile content in the industry over the last few years. And while it has always been within the power of companies such as defendant to require simple and effective measures that would prevent this, they have instead knowingly promoted the very system that has allowed these erroneous charges. Indeed, just as defendants deliver their products by means of cell phone technology, they likewise charge and collect from their customers by ‘piggybacking’ on the cell phone bills sent out by the wireless carriers. Defendants have reaped and retained their respective shares of the improper collections.”
The class also sued Playphone, a Delaware corporation whose headquarters and principal place of business is in California.
Plaintiffs are represented by David Parisi with Parisi & Havens of Sherman Oaks.