Politicians Probe AT&T Over Phantom Mobile Data Charges [Broadband Reports]
I recently wrote about a lawsuit currently pending about AT&T's data usage tracking. One of the key issues in that case is whether AT&T smartphones makedata transfers on AT&T's mobile network even when phone settings have been modified to avoid background data usage.
Now, two U.S. senators have become interested in AT&T's practices and plan to investigate the issue.
Lawyers in the case conducted a study to determine whether or not AT&T is over-charging and , if so, the extent to which AT&T was over-charging for data usage. Engineers hired by the plaintiff attorneys purchased new AT&T smartphones and did not enable any push notifications, location services, or anything that could inadvertently lead to data usage. Afterwards, several data charges appeared on the bill, even during late night hours when the phone's power was off.
This development obviously changed the tone of the case, which AT&T previously described as "without merit." The lawsuit alleges that AT&T overbills its customers anywhere from 7 to 300% for data usage.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Herb Kohl have taken an interest in the case and sent a letter to AT&T asking the company to explain the "phantom charges." Senators Klobuchar and Kohl also asked the company to provide a thorough accounting of their billing practices and whether or not they provide safeguards against over-billing data usage and whether or not there are ways for customers to verify their data usage.