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AT&T is ordered to pay damages of $850

Score one for the little guy. Matt Spaccarelli successfully argued his data throttling case against AT&T in a Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley, California this week. Spaccarelli's argued that even though he had an unlimited data plan with his iPhone, he was being throttled to slower speeds after only 1.5 to 2GB of data usage each month.
 
AT&T's decision to throttle Spaccarelli is even more spurious when you factor in that his $30 "unlimited" plan is throttled at relatively low limits while he would be technically safe using AT&T's $30 3GB "tiered" plan.
 
Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel awarded Spaccarelli $850 for his troubles -- $85 for each of the ten months remaining on his contract.
 
AT&T spokesman Marty Richter indicated AT&T will appeal the ruling, and added, "At the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers."
 
However, Spaccarelli isn’t completely innocent in this case. He admits to violating AT&T’s contract terms by jailbreaking his iPhone to provide tethering functionality to his iPad without paying the additional monthly fee. Spaccarelli was automatically switched from an unlimited plan to a tiered plan when this was initially discovered, but he complained. AT&T caved and put him back on an unlimited plan.
 
Apparently, Judge Nadel didn’t take this revelation into consideration in his ruling.
 
For his part, Spaccarelli proclaimed, "You don't tell somebody you have unlimited' and then cut them off."

Source: Associated Press



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Corporate Greed is a sin!
By holymaniac on 2/25/2012 2:02:08 PM , Rating: 3
I say they jest-fully but also earnestly. Ultimately Corporate obsession with sucking as much money as they can for as little service as possible will fail. Let's take as much as we can for as little effort or cost as possible. That is the MO of corporations.




RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By Motoman on 2/25/2012 3:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
Um, no.

Couple reasons why:

1. Shareholders > customers
2. Not maximizing your profit margin is poor management, even if you're a private company.

What you should say is that AT&T et al should provide more reasonable guidelines and governance of their "unlimited" plans. The kicker being that no one in the industry really does things any differently...so you can either get kicked in the nuts by AT&T, or go to Verizon and let them do the kicking. Or T-Mobile. Etc.


RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By EricMartello on 2/25/2012 7:37:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
1. Shareholders > customers


Without paying customers there will not be very many shares to be held.

quote:
2. Not maximizing your profit margin is poor management, even if you're a private company.


It is arguable that stating a plan is "unlimited" means that you can use as much as you want without incurring any kind of penalty. While the speeds are advertised as "up to 3G/4G", that depends on environmental conditions. Throttling is a limitation directly imposed by the company and should not be considered a valid condition for reduced access speed - it is be a breach of contract by the provider.

You're right that the bottom line should be a primary focus for any business, but that is not to the exclusion of ethics. The main focus of any company should be providing a value to their customers.

Due to the current regulatory system on radio bands by the FCC, broadcast and OTA services like mobile phones are only available to individuals or companies with deep pockets - even then, licensing the spectrum depends on availability and a lot of the spectrum that is unused is bought up to prevent competition.


RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By Motoman on 2/26/2012 12:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
You've utterly missed the point on #1.

Shareholders call the shots at any public company - not the customers. If the company begins to tank...for example, if the company's policies are pissing off customers to the point where they're taking their business elsewhere, then the shareholders will demand action.

The problem there is that all carriers do the same things...have the same policies, and the same definitions of "unlimited." Ergo, there is nowhere else to take your business as a customer where you'll get better service/product. So no point in leaving. Shareholders win again.

And you're a bit deluded about:

quote:
The main focus of any company should be providing a value to their customers.


That's a nice sentiment. But it's not how business works. Businesses exist to make money. They make money by providing value to customers...but make no mistake, businesses have to maximize margin in order to grow and survive. Every business always works to find the maximum balance of margin vs. customer satisfaction. Always. Has to be that way. Netflix is a good example - they built a great reputation in the beginning as "providing great value to the customer" - then they realized that they have to maximize margin, and they overstepped their bounds, and had to back track. Finding their balance...not always easy. But always a requirement - lest the shareholders oust the CEO and the board and replace you with someone else who will get the job done.


RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By EricMartello on 2/26/2012 5:52:09 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Shareholders call the shots at any public company - not the customers. If the company begins to tank...for example, if the company's policies are pissing off customers to the point where they're taking their business elsewhere, then the shareholders will demand action.


A little dense are we? You just affirmed my point by stating that if customers decided to take their business elsewhere, the shareholders will "demand action". Shareholders are simply investors with a stake in the company, nothing more.

quote:
The problem there is that all carriers do the same things...have the same policies, and the same definitions of "unlimited." Ergo, there is nowhere else to take your business as a customer where you'll get better service/product. So no point in leaving. Shareholders win again.


This has nothing to do with shareholders, and they are not free to define "unlimited" so that it falls in line with their marketing scheme. Looks like you ignored the whole thing about OTA service providers essentially having a monopoly due to the conditions created by the FCC, which is why the can get away with bending their customers over backwards for fees and sh1t. A lack of a better option doesn't make the only option "acceptable".

quote:
That's a nice sentiment. But it's not how business works. Businesses exist to make money. They make money by providing value to customers...but make no mistake, businesses have to maximize margin in order to grow and survive.


Does stating the obvious make you feel intelligent?

quote:
Every business always works to find the maximum balance of margin vs. customer satisfaction. Always.


No, not always, especially if the company is a monopoly. I wonder why a guy who parrots generic statements believes he has such deep insights into "how business works" that he is qualified to use words like "always" or "never" in describing their operating policies.

quote:
Has to be that way. Netflix is a good example - they built a great reputation in the beginning as "providing great value to the customer" - then they realized that they have to maximize margin, and they overstepped their bounds, and had to back track. Finding their balance...not always easy. But always a requirement - lest the shareholders oust the CEO and the board and replace you with someone else who will get the job done.


I like how you go from:

"Not maximizing your profit margin is poor management, even if you're a private company."

To this:

"Finding their balance...not always easy. But always a requirement"

You're either in support of "maximizing" to the exclusion of providing a real value to the customer, i.e. movie and record labels, or you agree with what I said before. Providing a value to the customer will inherently strike a balance between revenue and customer satisfaction - but that's not what most big corporations do.

Your argument that focusing on revenue "has to be that way" is inherently flawed, and is a reflection of the extremist capitalist mentality that has turned America from a great, productive nation full of skilled and intelligent people into a corporate dictatorship that has very little of value to offer. This is easily evidenced by the fact that the US perpetually operates in a deficit.


RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By Bryan54 on 2/26/2012 10:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
Amen brother!

Your post should have been accompanied by a 808 sub-bass drop, because that's how impactful it was.

It's welcome relief to see a perspective articulated in such a concise fashion, that isn't just an ejaculatory exercise for the author.

Is Eric the lone voice of reason at Anandtech!?!?


RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By Jeffk464 on 2/27/2012 3:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
Shareholders at least the little guy investors have very little say in corporation. The board and CEO basically have complete say, which in all honestly for most things probably has positive results. The exception to this is CEO's stacking the board and using it to set their salaries and benefits.


RE: Corporate Greed is a sin!
By redraider89 on 2/27/2012 2:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
What a hypocrite. Are you going to try to lie to me and say that you don't try to get the most or best for the price you are paying? YOU DO THE SAME THING you claim AT&T is doing. Yet when AT&T does it, or any business, regardless of being a corporation or not, it's a sin.

So, since you apparently believe corporations are evil and sinful, you aren't going to buy anything anymore from any "corporation"? That means you won't buy most food products in the grocery store, which is a corporation, too, and includes clothing stores, which is a corporation that sells clothes made by a corporation? And on and on... Just what I thought, hypocrite. Walk your talk or admit that "corporations" are not as EVIL as you make them out to be.


"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive














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