BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – AT&T refuses to disable or track down stolen cell phones and allows the thieves to re-register them in a new name, a class action claims in Federal Court. The class claims AT&T aids and abets the conversion of stolen phones, profits again by making victims buy replacements, and profits again when the thieves pay fees for service after reregistering the phones.
Named plaintiff Kyra Powell says she told AT&T that her cell phone was stolen in Atlanta, but it refused to track down or disable the phone.
Powell seeks class damages of more than $5 million, alleging conversion, trespass and unjust enrichment.
She is represented by D. Frank Davis of Birmingham.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday, two days after The New York Times reported that major U.S. electronic companies, including Apple, Amazon and Sirius XM Radio, refuse to disable stolen electronic devices in the United States, though doing so is an easy process in Canada and the European Union. The companies make most of their money not from the devices, but from monthly service fees or, in the case of Amazon’s Kindle reading machine, from online book purchases.