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  1. #1
    RÝbert M.
    Guest
    <http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...u=/nm/20040528
    /bs_nm/telecoms_att_lawsuit_dc&sid=95573419>

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two California women have sued AT&T Wireless
    Services Inc. (NYSE:AWE - news), claiming the cellphone company got too
    big too fast and let the quality of its service slip.


    This could be an interesting case, as if it succeeds (or appears that it
    might), many more suits for other carriers in other areas where they
    oversold their service could result.



    See More: Consumers strike back.




  2. #2
    Eric
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    [email protected] (R=F8bert=A0M.) wrote:
    > LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two California
    > women have sued AT&T Wireless Services
    > Inc. (NYSE:AWE - news), claiming the
    > cellphone company got too big too fast and
    > let the quality of its service slip.


    Interesting, and it could be an interesting case. But I think it sounds
    too close to a baseless lawsuit... and I hope that it doesn't become a
    regular occurance. If everyone would sue their prospective cellular
    carrier, than the carriers would be paying out too much money in
    lawsuits, and thus would never be able to use money to expand or improve
    their networks.

    I guess I just get tired of reading about lawsuits where someone sues
    McDonald's because it made them fat, or a burgular sues a homeowner
    because he got injured on the property as he was breaking in.

    Eric




  3. #3
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.


    "Scott Stephenson" wrote:
    >
    > "RÝbert M." <[email protected]> wrote:
    > news:[email protected]
    > >

    <http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...u=/nm/20040528
    > > /bs_nm/telecoms_att_lawsuit_dc&sid=95573419>
    > >
    > > LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two California women have sued AT&T Wireless
    > > Services Inc. (NYSE:AWE - news), claiming the cellphone company got too
    > > big too fast and let the quality of its service slip.
    > >
    > >
    > > This could be an interesting case, as if it succeeds (or appears that it
    > > might), many more suits for other carriers in other areas where they
    > > oversold their service could result.

    >
    > You sure have a knack these days of pointing out the most frivolous of
    > lawsuits and regulations. This is about the most ridiculous yet. The

    next
    > thing will be seeing is a lawsuit over the inability of carriers to

    provide
    > blanket coverage across the country, or one that claims that someone was
    > financially harmed because their phone was disconnected for non-payment.
    >
    > It would seem that cellular service in the State of California might get
    > very expensive for everyone, if this type of stupidity is allowed to
    > continue. Here is a case of everyone in the state (not just cellular

    users)
    > having to pay for the inability of the government to draw a line in the
    > sand.
    >

    I don't think this lawsuit is as ridiculous as it might seem, and there is
    precedent for this type of suit succeeding. As I see it, the basic issue is
    a contractual one....what did AT&T Wireless contract to do for its
    customers, and was it able to deliver on its contract even with the
    expansion of service? I think the courts would be willing to overlook a
    relatively brief "blip" in service if AT&T worked hard to correct the
    problems and if the disruption of service couldn't have reasonably been
    anticipated. I remember several years ago, when AOL changed from an hourly
    fee structure to a flat-fee unlimited use strucure, the infamous "AOL busy
    signals" began. Not only did AOL not rush out more modems and phone lines to
    handle the increased usage, they decided to place limitations on the
    supposedly "unlimited usage" plans (e.g., automatic logoffs after X minutes
    of no activity, no "unlimited access" during peak usage times). One (or
    more) lawsuit was filed because AOL had basically breached its contract with
    its customers to provide unlimited access for its flat-rate fee customers.
    If my memory is correct, the lawsuits were classified as class action, and
    AOL ended up refunding a portion of each customer's monthly subscription
    fee. AOL also made massive changes to its user agreement and Terms of
    Service to protect itself against future lawsuits (e.g., defining
    "unlimited" as "unlimited, except that we can't guarantee that it's actually
    unlimited"). AOL should have anticipated that changing to a flat-rate fee
    structure would result in tremendous increases in usage. And, even if it had
    miscalculated, it should have started working immediately to improve access
    rather than trying to force people offline. Corporations have a
    responsibility to their customers, not just to their shareholders, and
    sometimes it takes lawsuits like these to reacquaint them with that
    responsibility.

    Jeff





  4. #4
    RÝbert M.
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Jeff" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I don't think this lawsuit is as ridiculous as it might seem, and there is
    > precedent for this type of suit succeeding. As I see it, the basic issue is
    > a contractual one....what did AT&T Wireless contract to do for its
    > customers, and was it able to deliver on its contract even with the
    > expansion of service? I think the courts would be willing to overlook a
    > relatively brief "blip" in service if AT&T worked hard to correct the
    > problems and if the disruption of service couldn't have reasonably been
    > anticipated. I remember several years ago, when AOL changed from an hourly
    > fee structure to a flat-fee unlimited use strucure, the infamous "AOL busy
    > signals" began. Not only did AOL not rush out more modems and phone lines to
    > handle the increased usage, they decided to place limitations on the
    > supposedly "unlimited usage" plans (e.g., automatic logoffs after X minutes
    > of no activity, no "unlimited access" during peak usage times). One (or
    > more) lawsuit was filed because AOL had basically breached its contract with
    > its customers to provide unlimited access for its flat-rate fee customers.
    > If my memory is correct, the lawsuits were classified as class action, and
    > AOL ended up refunding a portion of each customer's monthly subscription
    > fee. AOL also made massive changes to its user agreement and Terms of
    > Service to protect itself against future lawsuits (e.g., defining
    > "unlimited" as "unlimited, except that we can't guarantee that it's actually
    > unlimited"). AOL should have anticipated that changing to a flat-rate fee
    > structure would result in tremendous increases in usage. And, even if it had
    > miscalculated, it should have started working immediately to improve access
    > rather than trying to force people offline. Corporations have a
    > responsibility to their customers, not just to their shareholders, and
    > sometimes it takes lawsuits like these to reacquaint them with that
    > responsibility.
    >
    > Jeff


    The basic common law principle involved is fitness for purpose. AT&T (or
    other cellular carriers) sell you a pehone with the implied warranty
    that its usable. They have your home address, they shouldnt sell you a
    phone if you cant get service. They typically are not allowed to hold
    you to q contract for service when they can not provide the service.
    Thats what the lawsuit is all about. From where I sit its a slam dunk
    for the plaintiffs, and if Cellular Carriers had their feet held to the
    fire, maybe they'd provide the services they promise, rather than play
    the lame "It'll cost extra" card when they are forced to keep their
    promise.



  5. #5
    RÝbert M.
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Eric) wrote:

    > Interesting, and it could be an interesting case. But I think it sounds
    > too close to a baseless lawsuit... and I hope that it doesn't become a
    > regular occurance. If everyone would sue their prospective cellular
    > carrier, than the carriers would be paying out too much money in
    > lawsuits, and thus would never be able to use money to expand or improve
    > their networks.


    The Carriers would win the lawsuits IF they were providing service as
    contracted.



  6. #6
    RÝbert M.
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Eric) wrote:

    > I guess I just get tired of reading about lawsuits where someone sues
    > McDonald's because it made them fat, or a burgular sues a homeowner
    > because he got injured on the property as he was breaking in.


    Wrong analogy. How about every other burger has no meat in it, and
    McDonalds shrugs its shoulders, and said

    "Well you came at a busy time of day, but you still pay regardless of
    whether you got meat". Thats what cellular carriers are doing when
    service is oversold.



  7. #7
    Scott Stephenson
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.


    "Jeff" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "Scott Stephenson" wrote:
    > >
    > > "RÝbert M." <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > news:[email protected]
    > > >

    > <http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...u=/nm/20040528
    > > > /bs_nm/telecoms_att_lawsuit_dc&sid=95573419>
    > > >
    > > > LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two California women have sued AT&T Wireless
    > > > Services Inc. (NYSE:AWE - news), claiming the cellphone company got

    too
    > > > big too fast and let the quality of its service slip.
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > This could be an interesting case, as if it succeeds (or appears that

    it
    > > > might), many more suits for other carriers in other areas where they
    > > > oversold their service could result.

    > >
    > > You sure have a knack these days of pointing out the most frivolous of
    > > lawsuits and regulations. This is about the most ridiculous yet. The

    > next
    > > thing will be seeing is a lawsuit over the inability of carriers to

    > provide
    > > blanket coverage across the country, or one that claims that someone was
    > > financially harmed because their phone was disconnected for non-payment.
    > >
    > > It would seem that cellular service in the State of California might get
    > > very expensive for everyone, if this type of stupidity is allowed to
    > > continue. Here is a case of everyone in the state (not just cellular

    > users)
    > > having to pay for the inability of the government to draw a line in the
    > > sand.
    > >

    > I don't think this lawsuit is as ridiculous as it might seem, and there is
    > precedent for this type of suit succeeding. As I see it, the basic issue

    is
    > a contractual one....what did AT&T Wireless contract to do for its
    > customers, and was it able to deliver on its contract even with the
    > expansion of service? I think the courts would be willing to overlook a
    > relatively brief "blip" in service if AT&T worked hard to correct the
    > problems and if the disruption of service couldn't have reasonably been
    > anticipated. I remember several years ago, when AOL changed from an hourly
    > fee structure to a flat-fee unlimited use strucure, the infamous "AOL busy
    > signals" began. Not only did AOL not rush out more modems and phone lines

    to
    > handle the increased usage, they decided to place limitations on the
    > supposedly "unlimited usage" plans (e.g., automatic logoffs after X

    minutes
    > of no activity, no "unlimited access" during peak usage times). One (or
    > more) lawsuit was filed because AOL had basically breached its contract

    with
    > its customers to provide unlimited access for its flat-rate fee customers.
    > If my memory is correct, the lawsuits were classified as class action, and
    > AOL ended up refunding a portion of each customer's monthly subscription
    > fee. AOL also made massive changes to its user agreement and Terms of
    > Service to protect itself against future lawsuits (e.g., defining
    > "unlimited" as "unlimited, except that we can't guarantee that it's

    actually
    > unlimited"). AOL should have anticipated that changing to a flat-rate fee
    > structure would result in tremendous increases in usage. And, even if it

    had
    > miscalculated, it should have started working immediately to improve

    access
    > rather than trying to force people offline. Corporations have a
    > responsibility to their customers, not just to their shareholders, and
    > sometimes it takes lawsuits like these to reacquaint them with that
    > responsibility.
    >


    You're comapring apples to oranges. AOL made a dramatic change to their TOS
    by offering unlimited acces, and then violated their own terms by putting
    restrictions in place after the fact. ATTW has not done anything close to
    that.

    In this lawsuit against ATTW, it is being requested that the courts
    establish what a reasonable amount of growth is for a company, which is
    completely laughable given the flat growth and subscriber decrease ATTW has
    shown over the last year. And proving service degradation that is due to
    the actions of ATTW is going to be almost impossible to prove. Is the
    service wrose because of construction and growth by third parties that
    interfere with service quality? If so, how is the company liable? Is there
    a clause in the TOS that guarantees service to continue when outside
    influences have an effect on coverage? Does the TOS guarantee blanket
    coverage, regardless of influences outside of the company's control?

    With this logic, television stations would have been exposed to the very
    same types of lawsuits before the advent of cable. Service did degrade due
    to a number of situations outside of the station's control back in the day.
    And I guess I can sure the developer of the new neighborhood that gets in
    the way of my view of mountains. I'll sue the city as well, because they
    have grown too quick and degraded the quality of my surroundings. Sound
    stupid? Of course it does, but no more stupid that what has been filed in
    California.





  8. #8
    Scott Stephenson
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.


    "RÝbert M." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > The basic common law principle involved is fitness for purpose. AT&T (or
    > other cellular carriers) sell you a pehone with the implied warranty
    > that its usable. They have your home address, they shouldnt sell you a
    > phone if you cant get service. They typically are not allowed to hold
    > you to q contract for service when they can not provide the service.
    > Thats what the lawsuit is all about. From where I sit its a slam dunk
    > for the plaintiffs, and if Cellular Carriers had their feet held to the
    > fire, maybe they'd provide the services they promise, rather than play
    > the lame "It'll cost extra" card when they are forced to keep their
    > promise.


    Funny- my cell company has my home address, and technically, I fall outside
    their coverage. But, I don't use it at home. Are you saying that they
    shouldn't seel to those who live outside their coverage area?

    Fitness of purpose means something much different than a blanket guarantee
    of service. You are given a chance to try the service, and if it suits your
    purposes during that trial period, you accept the terms of agreement. The
    cellular company is not responsible to provide blanket coverage, and is not
    responsible for actions of others that affect the quality of coverage. This
    is something you have never addressed.

    Your 'slam dunk' is anything but that, and is something you probably
    shouldn't wish for. Imagine if somebody could walk into court and sue the
    company you work for, saying that the business had grown too quick. If this
    lawsuit is allowed to trial, what basis would you expect the court to use to
    detrmine this aspect of the complaint? And wouldn't the decision apply to
    all businesses doing business in California- if you grow faster than the
    court determined ATTW should have, wouldn't you be open to the same type of
    lawsuit?





  9. #9
    Scott Stephenson
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.


    "RÝbert M." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] (Eric) wrote:
    >
    > > Interesting, and it could be an interesting case. But I think it sounds
    > > too close to a baseless lawsuit... and I hope that it doesn't become a
    > > regular occurance. If everyone would sue their prospective cellular
    > > carrier, than the carriers would be paying out too much money in
    > > lawsuits, and thus would never be able to use money to expand or improve
    > > their networks.

    >
    > The Carriers would win the lawsuits IF they were providing service as
    > contracted.


    They are- you need to read the Service Agreements.





  10. #10
    Eric
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    (R=F8bert=A0M.) wrote:
    > How about every other burger has no meat in
    > it, and McDonalds shrugs its shoulders, and
    > said
    > "Well you came at a busy time of day, but you
    > still pay regardless of whether you got meat".
    > Thats what cellular carriers are doing when
    > service is oversold.


    Yeah you're right, but I wasn't using my McDonald's comment as a real
    analogy. I was just stating that there are so many lawsuits going
    around... and they are getting more and more ridiculous... that any
    lawsuit that is "iffy" like this one, will get compared to other
    frivilous ones and not given a chance to play out fairly.

    Eric




  11. #11
    RÝbert M.
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Eric) wrote:

    > (RÝbert*M.) wrote:
    > > How about every other burger has no meat in
    > > it, and McDonalds shrugs its shoulders, and
    > > said
    > > "Well you came at a busy time of day, but you
    > > still pay regardless of whether you got meat".
    > > Thats what cellular carriers are doing when
    > > service is oversold.

    >
    > Yeah you're right, but I wasn't using my McDonald's comment as a real
    > analogy. I was just stating that there are so many lawsuits going
    > around... and they are getting more and more ridiculous.


    Sorry, I disagree 100%. The ones that are truly ridiculous get thrown
    out of court; the ones that are played up as ridiculous, (i.e. the lady
    that got a big settlement cause she spilled McDonalds' coffee on herself
    omit crucial information - That McDonalds and only that McDonalds
    insisting on selling 190 degree coffee, when EVERY other McDonalds sold
    170 degree coffee, and then McDonalds refused to even cover her medical
    bills, and their expert witness was awful; and her settlement got
    reduced on appeal) often are quite good.

    Our legal system makes businesses keep their promises (real and
    implied), and is part of what makes America GREAT.

    Those that want to play up rare excess of our legal system should go to:

    http://www.overlawyered.com



  12. #12
    Eric
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    [email protected] (R=F8bert=A0M.)
    > Sorry, I disagree 100%. The ones that are
    > truly ridiculous get thrown out of court; the
    > ones that are played up as ridiculous, often
    > are quite good.


    What do you think about the lawsuits where a burgular sues a homeowner
    because he was injured on the property of the house he was breaking
    into? Or the people who are suing McDonald's and other fast food chains
    for making them fat? I know there are several instances where the
    burgular won his case, often winning thousands of dollars from the
    people he was trying to rob... that is pretty ridiculous, and that
    wasn't thrown out of court don't you agree?

    But back to the topic at hand... I think that if coverage is promised,
    or was once strong, and then drops off... I don't know if that is proper
    basis for a lawsuit... it could be. It is certainly proper basis to get
    out of your contract without penalty. I just think too many of these
    cases will hurt the cellular industry rather than help it.

    Eric




  13. #13
    Jeff
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    "Scott Stephenson" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > You're comapring apples to oranges. AOL made a dramatic change to their

    TOS
    > by offering unlimited acces, and then violated their own terms by putting
    > restrictions in place after the fact. ATTW has not done anything close to
    > that.


    It's not "apples and oranges" at the most basic level of the lawsuit. Both
    cases depend on what was promised in the contract between the corporation
    and the customer. AOL promised access to its proprietary content and to the
    internet with no stated restrictions and then breached that contract by
    implementing its unlimited access plan without ensuring that its
    infrastructure could handle the load. Courts are often pretty forgiving of
    mistakes being made, and I suspect that the courts would not have imposed a
    judgment against AOL if AOL hadn't had a "let 'em eat cake" attitude when
    the problem arose and then, when member outcries arose, blamed their
    subscribers for the problem and further breached the contract by limiting
    unlimited access. I haven't read AT&T Wireless' user agreement or Terms of
    Service, so I don't know what they promised their customers. I doubt that
    any court would put restrictions on how fast a company can grow, but I would
    bet that the lawsuit will be successful if it can be shown that a breach of
    the contract between AT&T and its customers occurred.

    > And I guess I can sure the developer of the new neighborhood that gets in
    > the way of my view of mountains. I'll sue the city as well, because they
    > have grown too quick and degraded the quality of my surroundings. Sound
    > stupid? Of course it does, but no more stupid that what has been filed in
    > California.
    >

    No, it doesn't sound stupid, and yes, you can (and probably should) sue
    them. There have been many such lawsuits across the country. It all depends
    on the conditions of the sale of the home. If you pay a premium for a lot
    that has a view, then there is at the least an implied contract (and
    probably a stated contract, if the premium for the lot is itemized in your
    closing documents) that the value of your property is enhanced by the scenic
    view. If a corporation or a municipality or even a neighbor does something
    to block your scenic view, you have now suffered a loss in the value of your
    property, and you have the right to be compensated for that loss. It's the
    only fair thing to do. Corporations (and municipalities) could avoid a lot
    of the lawsuits filed against them if they are proactive rather than
    reactive and if they take into consideration what will be fair to their
    customers insted of what will make them more money or garner them favor with
    their shareholders (or political contributors). It's a shame this is rarely
    done, but it speaks volumes about the problem with corporate America and the
    litigiousness of the people.

    Jeff





  14. #14
    Chris Cowles
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    Those are by far the exception to liability cases. The vast majority of
    liability suits are business-to-business contract disputes. Most of the
    weirdo stuff like the example you cite below are exaggerated for political
    reasons. In reality, they represent a very small portion of liability
    dollars being paid, most of which are reasonable and valid.

    "Eric" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    [email protected] (RÝbert M.)

    What do you think about the lawsuits where a burgular sues a homeowner
    because he was injured on the property of the house he was breaking
    into? Or the people who are suing McDonald's and other fast food chains
    for making them fat?





  15. #15
    Steven J Sobol
    Guest

    Re: Consumers strike back.

    "R?bert M." <[email protected]> wrote:
    > 170 degree coffee, and then McDonalds refused to even cover her medical
    > bills, and their expert witness was awful; and her settlement got
    > reduced on appeal) often are quite good.


    Why does it not surprise me that you didn't think that lawsuit was frivolous...

    If the woman hadn't been driving with the cup between her legs it's a lot
    less likely she'd have had a problem... Sorry, it's not McD's fault she's
    a flaming idiot.

    --
    JustThe.net Internet & New Media Services, Apple Valley, CA PGP: 0xE3AE35ED
    Steven J. Sobol, Geek In Charge / 888.480.4NET (4638) / [email protected]
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