Thursday, June 24, 2010

Could Class Action Lawsuit Against AT&T Over Data Limits be Just the Beginning?

This just in: a class action lawsuit is brewing over AT&T's decision to put sudden data caps on already sold iPads.  As class action lawsuits go, this one is a no brainer.  AT&T is bound to settle or lose:

Class Action Lawsuit Against AT&T and Apple Over Data Limits on iPad

This is just the beginning of problems for AT&T over it's greedy and irrational desire to force tiered pricing on unwilling customers.  The specifics here, that customers were promised unlimited data for iPads, and then suddenly found out they can't have it as promised, are pretty straight forward.  Customers bought iPad's based on those promises, and then AT&T decided to change the rules with little notice (or reason) and rip them off.  End of lawsuit, AT&T pays.

The problem for AT&T is once a class action lawsuit gets started, there is no telling where it will go.  Hopefully, where this one will go is to question the entire economic logic behind tiered pricing.  I suspect, once we see the e-mails between AT&T execs over their real reasons for capping data, and find out the real stats on iPhone and iPad usage, we'll quickly find out AT&T has been lying through it's teeth about wanting to "lower" prices for customers.  We'll find out that the whole tiered pricing scheme was, as everyone knows, simply an effort to gouge customers who have no choice to switch carriers.

Maybe the settlement will also force Apple to dump it's exclusivity deal with AT&T.  We can only hope.

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