Judge awards iPhone user $850 in throttling case
AT&T sold Spaccarelli an “unlimited data” plan but later slowed down his data speed. Judge Russel Nadel found in favor of Spaccarelli in Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley on Friday, ruling the company was not playing fair for purposely slowing down his iPhone — awarding Spaccarelli $850.
Spaccarelli said his phone is being throttled after he’s used 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data within a new billing cycle. Meanwhile, AT&T provides 3 gigabytes of data to subscribers on a tiered plan that costs the same — $30 per month.
When slowed down, the phone can still be used for calls and text messaging, but Web browsing is painfully slow, and video streaming doesn’t work at all.
AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said the company will appeal the judge’s ruling. “At the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers,” he said.
AT&T area sales manager Peter Hartlove, who represented the company before Nadel, declined to comment on the ruling. He argued in court that his employer has the right to modify or cancel customers’ contracts if their data usage adversely affects the network.
Companies with as many potentially aggrieved customers as AT&T usually brace themselves for a class-action lawsuit. But last year, the Supreme Court upheld a clause in the Dallas-based company’s subscriber contract that prohibits customers from taking their complaints to class actions or jury trials.