AT&T, Radio Shack Sued For $5,000 Netbook Bill - InformationWeek
Government // Mobile & Wireless
04:52 PM

AT&T, Radio Shack Sued For $5,000 Netbook Bill

The lawsuit could potentially derail the cellular carrier's attempt to subsidize netbooks to get customers to sign up for mobile data plans.

An Oklahoma woman has filed a lawsuit against AT&T and RadioShack after purchasing a netbook with a 3G data plan and receiving a $5,000 bill for exceeding her monthly data cap.

Last December, RadioShack offered a $99 Acer Aspire One netbook for customers willing to sign a two-year contract for AT&T's mobile broadband service. The 3G service offers access to the Internet on the go for about $60 a month, but there are additional charges for exceeding the 5 GB monthly limit.

Billie Parks, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and others, said AT&T and Radio Shack are violating the state's consumer protection acts due to false, misleading, and inaccurate advertising of the data plan.

"Although the customer service summary informed plaintiff and other consumers that their first bill might be higher than expected because of a $36 activation fee, one month's service billed in advance, and prorated charges and fees for the month when the customers signed up, neither the plaintiff nor other consumers were informed, nor could they have reasonably discerned from the paperwork, that wireless Internet usage exceeding 5 GB per month would result in astronomical charges running into the thousands of dollars," the lawsuit said.

Radio Shack and the mobile operator did not respond to press inquiries regarding the lawsuit, but AT&T's terms of service addresses the data cap, as well as the overage fees. Rival carriers Sprint and Verizon Wireless have similar limits and overage fees for their EV-DO mobile broadband services.

"If you are on a data plan that does not include a monthly megabyte allowance and additional data usage rates, the parties agree that AT&T has the right to impose additional charges if you use more than 5 gigabytes in a month," AT&T's terms of service said.

If the lawsuit reaches class-action status, it could potentially derail an emerging business model, as wireless operators are eyeing consumer interest in subsidized netbooks and laptops with a mobile data plan. But these data caps are bound to become a larger issue as consumers increase their data and content usage on the go.

Netbooks and mobile broadband can be ideal ways to arm your road warriors, but there are still questions about connectivity and security. InformationWeek has written an independent report on how to equip your mobile workforce, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll