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AT&T iPad Data Plan Leads to Class Action Suit

A class action lawsuit has been filed on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation against AT&T and Apple by three customers in San Jose, California. It has further been amended to including additional iPad customers who wish to join the class. The lawsuit was filed by the law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Berstein, which specializes in consumer class action cases.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District court by customers who feel they were misled after AT&T dropped its unlimited 3G data plans after the iPad was released. The plans were available at the time the iPad was first made available to the public. The lawsuit claims Apple and AT&T “deceptively promoted” the unlimited plans despite the fact that they were planning on discontinuing the plans in favor of limited data usage plans.

Limited or capped data plans have been a hot button issues among consumers who expect to use a large amount of bandwidth on their new devices. On June 2nd, 2010, AT&T lowered the prices of their data plans offering a $15 plan for 200 megabytes of data per month and a $25 plan for 2 gigabytes of data per month. Previously, AT&T offered a single plan with unlimited monthly data for $30. The move has customers and consumer advocates arguing that the move constitutes an illegal bait and switch technique. Bait and switch is a tactic when a company entices buyers by offering a given product or service but instead forces them into buying a different option which they find less appealing.

The New Times quoted one customer who said, “I would have never purchased a 3G-capable iPad if I knew Apple and AT&T were planning on suddenly taking away from the the freedom to opt in and out of an unlimited data plan at my choice.”

As of the time of this posting, neither AT&T nor Apple have publicly commented on the suit.

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