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AT&T loses throttling case, pays $935 to angry customer


In the midst of patent wars and court pandemonium, we have a small win for the consumer. Last month, AT&T lost in a small claims court in California against Matt Spacarelli. AT&T was all set for appealing the ruling, but it seems it have decided to skip all of that and just pay up.

Spacarelli has received a check for $935, as Simi Valley, CA judge has found Ma Bell’s throttling practices to be against its terms of service. But what most upset customers was not the throttling. It was the fact that they were being throttled after using too little data.

Users have been reporting slower data speeds after using 2 GB or less in a month. Tiered data plan subscribers are never throttled, and have the option to pay the exact same amount for a 3 GB data plan. Gradfathered unlimited data users feel like this is unfair of AT&T.

AT&T claims that only the top 5% heavy users get throttled. So everything changes in a monthly basis. But this represents a great victory, and proves one of the following: Either AT&T just doesn’t feel like dealing with this, or they know their approach is unfair and has decided to just pay the customer.

Regardless, AT&T has recently decided to set “limits,” instead. A change that was made due to customers requesting more transparency regarding the matter. Now, users will only be throttled after crossing the 3 GB threshold. 4G LTE users are the exception, as they will be able to go up to 5 GB.

This change could be AT&T’s way of avoiding more lawsuits. Meaning a regular Joe like Spacarelli was able to walk away with a victory, not only for himself, but for all AT&T customers. After getting his check, Matt has decided to use the money to cancel the contract. He is now with Straight Talk, which offers unlimited everything for $45.

[Source: Matt Spaccarelli (Twitter) Via: Mashable]




  • lynyrd65

    Quick everyone file claims until they bring back unlimited data! Then, they’ll get the message.

    Operation Chokehold part deaux, Begin!

    • JesseArciniegas

      No shut up. You’re trying too hard.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aarontrevor Aaron Sentell

        ^Hey look, an AT&T rep. ;)

  • Numbers

    Does this mean that anyone that has been throttled can sue att and win?

  • Boom! Its phatman

    ATT will most likely change their TOS quietly to prevent similar lawsuits.

    Also the settlement is so small, its cheaper to just pay the guy instead of hiring a team of lawyers that could bring more media attention, possibly a large class action lawsuit.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/S5QJ4OKYRRWIF5IQUFSVFZEMMQ MichelleJ

       Contract prevents class action lawsuit…

  • godrilla

    It costs more to pay an attorney.

    • abc

      Most people don’t go to small claims court with an attorney, lol.
      It’s usually people representing themselves.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/S5QJ4OKYRRWIF5IQUFSVFZEMMQ MichelleJ

       Well…if you win, you get those fees back! =D

  • BigCiX

    My coverage here in my area sucks during peak hours. Literally 3 minutes to load a page.

  • 666

    I need money I am going to sue.

    • Off_Road_Racing

      How evil…

  • IronHorse01

    AT&T just plain sucks ass period.

  • shooter50

    I pray Matt never has to use Straight Talk customer service. They don’t just outsource, I don’t even think they use humans!!!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/S5QJ4OKYRRWIF5IQUFSVFZEMMQ MichelleJ

       C’mon…all you have to do is mail them a letter about your issue and they will respond within 4-6 weeks…no…I am not kidding….

  • Diordna11

    Reminds me of how good I felt the day I fired ATT. I pitty anyone that is stuck with these a$$holes. Actually, with all of the testimonials out there of unhappy ATT users you’d have to be pretty ignorant to sign any contract with them. They are crooks throughout the entire company.

  • Off_Road_Racing

    3GB still sux. On Tmo, I was being throttled at 5GB paying the same price as AT&T customers. LoL!! And still had better reception.

    I think Ima leave Sprint. I hate it. 

    • DinS

      Seems to be I am the lucky one in germany. On Tmobile germany I’m being throttled at 200Mb…

  • Nick Klenchik

    They should’t be limiting anyone on unlimited plans. I guarantee the only reason as to why unlimited customers still with AT&T is because they’re grandfathered in.

    • Tim242

      Unlimited customers are guaranteed unlimited amounts of data
      Nowhere, is anyone ever guaranteed a speed to receive that data.

      • AJA0

        They advertised the speed of the data more than the fact that it was unlimited, so when they purchased unlimited data, they were buying it at the speeds mentioned.

        • Tim242

          They never advertise speeds. They just use words like fast. In contracts, speeds are NEVER mentioned, or guaranteed. There are far too many variables that affect speed.

  • Scuro Raven

    Considering the other options around here, and the various places I travel. AT&T have better customer services that Sprint and Verizon. They also are the only one that has coverage where I live and travel.  Coverage wise it seems that T-mo has better coverage for me than Verizon and sprint. Verizon has the worst coverage out of the 4 for the places I go, they have coverage in the main cities, but zero in the rural places. Spint has spotty coverage but still better than Verizon.  As for Data..AT&T, T-mo, Verizon, and then sprint, in that order for both speed and coverage.  There are places where None of them get data coverage is AT&T is the only one with voice.

    So, AT&T is only option for me. Unless one of the others do some serious Improvements. 

    On a side note, I wonder how much more money is t-mo going to cost their parent company before they cut their losses?

  • JevyJav

    What’s $935 compared to the billions in profits they rob from their customers every year lmao and you crazy bastards keep going back lmao. Hey ATT is it true what they say? You can’t rape the willing? Let this guy be an example to what everyone of you att customers should be doing!