What AT&T customers on unlimited data plans can do to fight throttling

Last year AT&T, along with several other carriers, decided to drop its unlimited data plan in favor of other options. And although it has allowed users to maintain their previously-owned unlimited plans, it isn’t exactly winning customer service points.

A few months ago, the operator started throttling its subscribers after using only two gigabytes of their unlimited data. And if you happen to fall into that category, for once, there is something you can do about it…

Bradley Sniderman, an attorney from Southern California, published an article on MacTech yesterday that provides AT&T customers who have been affected by the carrier’s recent data throttling with 5 tips on how to fight the power.

These suggestions should not be considered in any way a replacement for real legal advice, and are only for folks who are seriously considering taking AT&T to [small claims] court.

“1. Where to file — most lawsuits, even those from small claims, need to be filed in the jurisdiction where the defendant can be found. In this case (and let’s use AT&T), AT&T may have corporate offices in only a few locations, but since they are a nationwide phone company, they are usually subject to jurisdiction anywhere. What this means is that you can file your small claims suit in the courthouse most convenient to you.

2. Make sure you have a copy of your contract, and please review the entire agreement. It may be a slow read, but you need to know the terms of it. You may be able to use these terms to show that AT&T does not have the right to slow your data speed.

3. You need to be able to show that you have an unlimited data plan, which means you are entitled to unlimited data. You need to also show proof that AT&T had limited your data stream. You next have to argue that AT&T has no right to charge you a fee for unlimited data, and then not supply it. It is not your fault that AT&T can’t keep up with demand for data. If you can even show that you are using less data that some of the fixed rate plans, such as the 3 gigabyte plans, that is even better. Make sure you have been paying your bill on time and that you are not late, since that could be used against you.

4. Make sure you have an amount for damages. You need to show how you were damaged by not having data streaming. This could be by showing lost business opportunities or showing how much you have paid for the service you never got.

5. Be polite, and make sure you are prepared. The court will listen to you, but if you don’t know what you are talking about, then your argument gets lost.”

For those that missed it, an AT&T iPhone customer actually won a settlement in a small claims court last week due to his unlimited data plan being throttled. The carrier was forced to pay out $850 in damages. Wow.

While we don’t generally recommend resorting to litigation, this is actually for a good cause. Perhaps if enough people file against AT&T, the carrier might be forced to rethink its throttling terms.