Class Action law Suit Against AT&T/Cubgular
October 28, 2007
Proposed class plaintiffs Marcie Crandall and Dale Fietsam of Belleville, who were former AT&T customers before the companies merged in October 2004, claim they were forced into buying new phones because their old ones were not compatible with Cingular’s wireless network under which their post merger plans operated.They claim their phones contained network-specific “locks.”
According to the complaint filed Oct. 24 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the companies entered into locking contracts with cell phone manufacturers before they merged. Locked phone units, the suit claims, only detect the provider’s network which paid for the lock.
“The purpose of these ‘locking’ contracts was to limit the cellular phone’s ability to detect a cellular network through the use of the SIM Card,” the complaint states.
Crandall, whose AT&T cell phone would not work on the Cingular network after the merger, claims she was told she could pay a $5 analog fee or buy a new cell phone. She claims she expended money to purchase a new phone because she was never informed that her locked phone could be “unlocked” and made compatible with the Cingular network.
“The failure of AT&T and Cingular to inform their consumers that the cellular phones contained ‘locks’ were material omissions of fact which were designed to induce consumers, including Marcie Crandall, to purchase a new cellular telephone,” the complaint states.
The complaint also claims that Crandall was required to agree to a new service contract with Cingular on terms that were less favorable than her prior contract with AT&T Wireless.