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Hey, guess what, another lawsuit complaining that a wireless carrier doesn’t really offer an “unlimited plan.” Unfortunately, this time it’s levied against T-Mobile by lead plaintiff Trent Alvarez who states he entered into an agreement with T-Mobile by purchasing smartphones and then received a message regarding a reduction in data speeds due to exceeding the 10 GB limit. The suit brought in Yolo County, California claims that T-Mobile’s advertisements for “Unlimited Web & Email” are misleading/deceiving and that T-Mobile sales representatives falsely represented the data plan as unlimited.
Of course, this is reminiscent of a similar suit brought against Verizon that was settled in 2007 resulting in more than $1 million dollars paid out to customers who also claimed they were mislead by Verizon’s “unlimited” claims.
While it’s expressly stated in T-Mobile’s contractual agreement that T-Mobile reserves the right to throttle speeds based on network overload, excessive or improper usage, etc., most people will never read the fine print.
I’m a little unsure as to where to come down on this one as part of me would feel that exceeding 10 GB’s, while easy, takes a lot of work. It’s likely you are either downloading large files on more than one occasion, playing a game online or something else that might not be “kosher” according to the wireless carrier standards resulting in a reduction of bandwidth. Of course, it’s also possible you simply use a lot of data and bought into this agreement with the idea that you could use it at will with no concern about being throttled. So while it’s likely a suit like this will result in a settlement out of court, perhaps it will serve as a warning both to carrier and customer to take heed of the fine print and, for the carriers’ interests, make those warnings a little larger.