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Thread: SmartPhones Data Plan Mandate Class Action Lawsuit? (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint)

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    Exclamation SmartPhones Data Plan Mandate Class Action Lawsuit? (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint)

    I am wondering if anyone has information about the whole process of a class action lawsuit?... Who should I contact and how do people normally get together to file a class action lawsuit?

    With the new announcement from Verizon about Tiered Data Plan there are more evidence that the three major carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have formed a cartel.

    All these companies do the following:

    - Require all customers with a “Smart Phones” (Including UNSUBSIDIZED) to have a minimal data plan regardless if you use it or not.
    - Do not allow the placement of data block and opting out of the data plan.
    - Taking advantage of markets where they are the only company compatible with their customers handset (Ex: AT&T where T-mobile or other GSM carrier is not present)
    - Taking advantage that they are the 3 major carriers and having the same data plan mandate to tie customers to their companies.
    - Limiting consumer choice.

    I have seen in a lot of forums where people being mad that they are unable to use or get a smartphone and use WiFi only without paying for something that they do not need.

    I understand that cell phone carriers need to make money, but they should not do it through price fixing in this free market economy. Do they want to win customers?... win them with flexible product, services and prices and not through mandates and unfair policies/business practices.

    P.S

    I know that there is going to be someone popping out and saying “If you can’t afford data plan, don’t get an smart phone” or “Don’t buy a Ferrari if you can’t afford gas”

    Here is my answer for you: I may or may not to be able to afford data plan, however, I am able to afford to pay full price for a smart phone and I should be able to use it what ever I want. I do not have to pay AT&T, Verizon or Sprint for services that I don’t need.

    We live in a free country where I should be able to get the phone that I want (without subsidy) and use it as I want, without causing detriment to the carriers.
    I always question and challenge the norm to make them better

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    Even if (and I stress if) such a lawsuit worked, I predict that the monthly cost of all rate plans would simply go up unilaterally on all carriers, even on "dumb phone" plans.

    If you can find an attorney with deep enough pockets to take it to court, it would take several years of litigation with very little chance of success (in my opinion).

    This is a free country and you can do whatever you wish. Then again, there is always prepaid and no data requirements. Good luck.


    My opinion does not reflect those of my former employer (that shall remain anonymous).
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    How can they force you on a data plan when they can't force you to have service with them? (Hint: You do not have to do business with them if you don't like their practices.)

    P.S. "Living in a free country" does not protect your rights to a data free cell phone plan. At least it did not the last time I read our founding documents. Heh.

    It's like trying to sue mcdonald's because they refuse to not put mustard on your burger and charge for the mustard. You can easily not walk into the mcdonald's to begin with. (I love analogies)

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    Quote Originally Posted by z28james
    (Hint: You do not have to do business with them if you don't like their practices.)
    In effect, you do have to do business if they're the only one selling the hottest (or most useful) phone or they are the only ones with decent coverage even if you don't like their business practices.

    It's like trying to sue mcdonald's because they refuse to not put mustard on your burger and charge for the mustard. You can easily not walk into the mcdonald's to begin with. (I love analogies)
    Right, but unlike hamburgers you only have 3 real choices with cell providers. With hamburgers you have more than 3 choices. I can go Wendys, In n Out, BK, grocery store, Fatburger, TGI Fridays, local burger joint et al..that's more choices than most people have with cell providers. Bad analogy.

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    Someone should sue them for not giving discounts on monthly plans for those who don't buy subsidized phones, and not even giving the option of taking cash in exchange for signing a contract. Basically, if you don't want to buy devices from AT&T, AT&T still screws you over by making you pay the same monthly rate that people who do buy devices from them have to pay.

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    No, you don't. Your body will not fail if you do not have a cell phone holstered to it. People may depend on them greatly but you do not NEED a cellphone. It makes life a bit more inconvenient without one.

    My analogy is fine even assuming there is one hamburger joint in the whole world as again, a cellphone is a privilege, not a right. If you don't like it, don't have a cell phone. If you don't want a data plan enforced, don't buy a smart phone. Buy any one of the many unlocked GSM phones that are out there.

    Maybe the only real argument is coverage, but you can buy a tracphone and be covered by verizon's network which seems to be not too shabby lately.

    I mean, with this logic, you would also be dragging BMW into court as well because you can't order an M5 without wheels because you happen to have a set that would work in the garage and want to save a few bucks on the sticker price.

    (Let me also mention that A am sort of playing devil's advocate here and do not completely agree with enforcing data plans on a phone that is not subsidized. I just don't think there are any grounds for some lawsuit)

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    In effect, you do have to do business if they're the only one selling the hottest (or most useful) phone or they are the only ones with decent coverage even if you don't like their business practices.
    That's working off the logic that you have to have the hottest new phone out there. There are other choices in carriers with various decrees of coverage and phone offerings.
    My opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer AT&T.

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    Quote Originally Posted by z28james View Post
    If you don't want a data plan enforced, don't buy a smart phone. Buy any one of the many unlocked GSM phones that are out there.
    This is exactly why I think there may be grounds for a lawsuit. Why the hell should it matter what kind of device you're using? If you aren't using data on it, it places the exact same load on the network as a dumbphone when it makes calls, etc. How'd you like it if your landline phone company decided that DSL service is required if you connect a cordless phone to one of their phone jacks in your house? Oh yeah, they can't do that...here's why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carterfone What we need is the equivalent of that FCC ruling for wireless devices. Carterfone doesn't actually prohibit the landline companies from establishing absurd requirements such as the one I suggested above (it just says that they have to let you connect your own devices to their network as long as those devices do not cause harm to the network) but any such absurd requirement would probably be quickly thrown out by the courts in the spirit of the Carterfone decision.

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    It blows my mind when people stick up for the carriers on this. It is absolutely ridiculous to think it's ok to base service requirements on phone type. What if the cable company charged more for customers using bigger TVs? Or required that you purchase an extra HD package because they found out you had a HDTV? What if your broadband provider tried to charge differently based on what kind of laptop you're using? It makes me sick that there are so many people out there that just bend over and take these injustices with a smile on their face, then stick up for the one delivering the injustice.

    And there is a HUGE difference between wireless service and hamburgers. Wireless service is much closer to a utility. More and more people are dropping the landlines and going with cellphones only. There's only a few providers and a huge barrier to starting up a new wireless co. Wireless service is a lot more important than a hamburger. What if the water company said "We see you have a 2 acre lot. That's a lot of lawn to water. We're going to require that you purchase our special lawn watering bundle that comes with 25000 gallons of water. What's that? You zero-scape and don't need the water? Tough; you have to buy it whether you use it or not. Should've thought of that before buying such a large lot. Or insert a similar electric company analogy here.

    It is absolutely none of their business what device I use with my service! I buy service and should be able to use it however I want on whatever device I want. We wouldn't put up with this type of behavior from our broadband providers; there's no reason wireless should be different.

    It's really sad that so many people these days don't stick up for their rights and tell these big companies to butt out of their business; to just provide the service they're paid for with none of this funny business. There's no reason for them to be more than dumb pipes. But we're never going to get there with so many people of the bend-over-and-take-it-while-smiling mindset

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    Quote Originally Posted by awj223 View Post
    This is exactly why I think there may be grounds for a lawsuit. Why the hell should it matter what kind of device you're using? If you aren't using data on it, it places the exact same load on the network as a dumbphone when it makes calls, etc. How'd you like it if your landline phone company decided that DSL service is required if you connect a cordless phone to one of their phone jacks in your house? Oh yeah, they can't do that...here's why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carterfone What we need is the equivalent of that FCC ruling for wireless devices. Carterfone doesn't actually prohibit the landline companies from establishing absurd requirements such as the one I suggested above (it just says that they have to let you connect your own devices to their network as long as those devices do not cause harm to the network) but any such absurd requirement would probably be quickly thrown out by the courts in the spirit of the Carterfone decision.
    Point taken, and as I mentioned, I personally do not agree with forced data plans on non-subsidized handsets. My thought process leads me to the fact that at the end of the day, nobody is forcing me to do business with AT&T. If I don't agree with how they handle usage on the network that they own, then I can call cricket or page plus and they would welcome my unlocked handset. Sometimes people only have AT&T as a local cell provider, but who's fault is that?

    I'd rather vote with my dollar. Isn't this how it should work anyways? It just seems silly to want to do business with a company so badly that you take them to court so that their pricing model fits your needs, heh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fansntt View Post
    P.S

    I know that there is going to be someone popping out and saying “If you can’t afford data plan, don’t get an smart phone” or “Don’t buy a Ferrari if you can’t afford gas”

    Here is my answer for you: I may or may not to be able to afford data plan, however, I am able to afford to pay full price for a smart phone and I should be able to use it what ever I want. I do not have to pay AT&T, Verizon or Sprint for services that I don’t need.

    We live in a free country where I should be able to get the phone that I want (without subsidy) and use it as I want, without causing detriment to the carriers.


    You are PARTIALLY correct in this statement.

    Yes, you may be able to afford a smartphone at full MSRP and there are many retailers and dealers you can buy them from.

    Yes, you may be able to use your property however you want.

    However, once you begin breaking laws, or infringing on other party's/entity's rights, or USING A COMPANY'S NETWORK/INFRASTRUCTURE BUT NOT ABIDING BY THEIR TERMS & CONDITIONS AND/OR POLICIES... that's where the problem is.

    The fact is that you have agreed to certain contractual terms & conditions and usage policies (which are required at the beginning of your service). But now you are trying to FORCE Sprint to change those policies for your benefit. Personally, IMHO, if you agreed to follow certain rules and policies, and are using/renting time/leasing space/leasing bandwidth/etc from a service provider that has and maintains their own network and infrastructure, then you are expected to abide by those rules and policies they have in place. If you do not, then you risk being terminated. You may have a "right" to buy whatever smartphone you want... but you do NOT have a "right" to force other companies/parties/entities to accept your terms & conditions, rules, or policies for your own service (because you are NOT the service provider... you are just a customer). You DO have a "right" to choose to go to a different carrier or service provider however... like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, US Cellular, Virgin, Boost, Straight Talk, Page Plus, Common Cents, etc.

    If Sprint is not being as "flexible" with data and smartphones as you like, then I suggest you go over to AT&T or T-Mobile (who are GSM carriers) and buy unbranded full-priced smartphones to use on their networks (and hope that they won't catch you, otherwise they WILL add the appropriate data package to your plan).
    - Chokaay

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxh2 View Post
    It blows my mind when people stick up for the carriers on this. It is absolutely ridiculous to think it's ok to base service requirements on phone type. What if the cable company charged more for customers using bigger TVs? Or required that you purchase an extra HD package because they found out you had a HDTV? What if your broadband provider tried to charge differently based on what kind of laptop you're using? It makes me sick that there are so many people out there that just bend over and take these injustices with a smile on their fac, then stick up for the one delivering the injustice.

    And there is a HUGE difference between wireless service and hamburgers. Wireless service is much closer to a utility. More and more people are dropping the landlines and going with cellphones only. There's only a few providers and a huge barrier to starting up a new wireless co. Wireless service is a lot more important than a hamburger. What if the water company said "We see you have a 2 acre lot. That's a lot of lawn to water. We're going to require that you purchase our special lawn watering bundle that comes with 5000 gallons of water. What's that? You zero-scape and don't need the water? Tough; you have to buy it whether you use it or not. Should've thought of that before buying such a large lot. Or insert a similar electric company analogy here.

    It is absolutely none of their business what device I use with my service! I buy service and should be able to use it however I want on whatever device I want. We wouldn't put up with this type of behavior from our broadband providers; there's no reason wireless should be different.

    It's really sad that so many people these days don't stick up for their rights and tell these big companies to butt out of their business; to just provide the service they're paid for with none of this funny business. There's no reason for them to be more than dumb pipes. But we're never going to get there with so many people of the bend-over-and-take-it-while-smiling mindset
    The problem here is that people want to eat there cake and still have the cake after. If you think AT&T's post paid shenanigans is too much, screw em, use your phone as a go-phone. Use any number of GSM wireless providers, some of which use AT&T's network anyways. Take your phone to t-mobile, I did when I wanted to use a 2G iPhone but did not want to deal with AT&T. I didn't start a class action lawsuit, I took my dollar elsewhere.

    I have time warner where I live and my city was going to be one of the test cities for metered broadband. What do you think I did? I called up the other providers in my town and priced them out just in case. I didn't call a lawyer. Why would I continue to give them money when I didn't agree with their business practices?

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    Quote Originally Posted by z28james View Post
    I'd rather vote with my dollar. Isn't this how it should work anyways? It just seems silly to want to do business with a company so badly that you take them to court so that their pricing model fits your needs, heh.
    The problem with that is this: what do you do when ALL of the companies in your area do exactly the same thing? For example there are many rural areas served by AT&T and Verizon only, and AT&T and Verizon both require data packages on smartphones. Let's also say that you need a postpaid account because you need to do international roaming with the same number, but for some reason you do NOT want a data plan. What do you do then?

    The point is, these companies are in fact public utilities, and should be regulated as such. Sure, nobody's forcing anyone to have a cell phone, just like nobody's forcing you to use electricity or water or sewer service, but in a developed country such as ours, there are certain things that people can (and do) live without in other parts of the world but that we're generally expected to have here. Cell phones are rapidly becoming one of those things. These companies use our PUBLIC spectrum (yes, they paid billions of $ to use it, but in the end it's still the public's airwaves and use of the airwaves must serve a public purpose). And there are things that public utilities using public spectrum just should not be able to do, and forcing data plans on people because they use a specific type of device is one of those things.

    For the record, I don't really care about the data plan requirement because I would never dream of using my smartphone without a data plan, but I don't want other people who don't see a need for one to be forced to buy one. And I don't think anyone should ever be forced into voting with their dollars because I don't think these companies should be able to get away with this crap in the first place.

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    Thank you, awj223. For the record, I also use a data plan, but I've had friends and family that've been affected by these policies. My sister just signed up for a couple of new lines w/ Verizon and was affected. She really wanted a nice smartphone with GPS (with standalone maps for use without data.) I have some nice ones I offered to give her, but they all would've required data, so she had to get a new phone. She ended up signing a contract (could've been avoided w/ a phone from me) and getting some crappy pantech that isn't really what she wanted. She has plenty of money, but doesn't use data and didn't want to pay for it on principle, and so can't use the phone she wants. It just sucks.
    Last edited by maxh2; 09-27-2010 at 12:34 PM.

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    After trying many phones, the one phone that is worthy of this spot is the 6620!!
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    Yes please sue! I can't wait till smart phones go back to costing $300-$400 again with a contract!
    I can't wait until they bring back $35 data plans and slow network speeds!


    Good luck with that!

    /s

    Socialism for the win!

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