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Consumers claim Apple and AT&T fraudulently marketed 3G iPad
Posted on 25-Jun-2010 09:35. | Tags Filed under: News.

Michael W. Sobol of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that three consumers yesterday filed an amended complaint in a nationwide class action lawsuit against Apple and AT&T for fraud in connection with the sale and marketing of the iPad and associated data plans.

The complaint charges that Apple and AT&T misrepresented that consumers purchasing an iPad with 3G capability, which cost US$130 more than an iPad without 3G capability, could choose an unlimited data plan for a fixed monthly rate and could switch in and out of the unlimited plan on a monthly basis as they wished.

Less than six weeks after its introduction to the U.S. market, AT&T and Apple have discontinued their unlimited data plan for any iPad 3G customers not currently enrolled and prohibited current unlimited data plan customers from switching back and forth from a less expensive, limited data plan or no data plan to the unlimited plan.

"The availability of an unlimited data plan was a key reason why consumers paid the extra US$130 charge to access the 3G network, and their ability to switch in and out of the unlimited data plan was also an important consideration in the decision to purchase an iPad," stated Lieff Cabraser attorney Michael W. Sobol. "The complaint alleges that Apple and AT&T should have known at the time they were promoting the availability of unlimited data plans, they were not going to keep that promise."

"I originally purchased a standard iPad. Three weeks later, I returned it to the Apple store, paying an additional US$130 plus sales tax to upgrade to an iPad with 3G capability. I thought the iPad 3G was worth the additional money because, with the unlimited data plan, I could work outside my office or home and access all the data I needed for a fixed, monthly price," commented plaintiff Adam Weisblatt of Fulton, New York. "But I also knew that for several months each year, with my schedule, a lesser expensive, limited data plan was sufficient. I would have never purchased a 3G-capable iPad if I knew Apple and AT&T were planning on suddenly taking away from me the freedom to opt in and out of an unlimited data plan at my choice."

As of 7th June 2010, Apple and AT&T decided to discontinue the "unlimited data" plan they had heavily advertised in connection with their sales of the 3G-enabled iPads. Apple and AT&T had promised consumers flexibility with their data plans, allowing them the ability switch back and forth between the limited data plan, the unlimited data plan, and no data plan.

The complaint alleges that iPad purchasers who initially opted for the limited data plan have been stripped of their ability to later opt for the unlimited data plan. Even those customers currently signed up for the unlimited data plan cannot switch to a limited plan and then later opt for the unlimited plan, as was originally promised. Apple and AT&T announced this policy change with less than one week's notice to their customers and only about a month after Apple and AT&T began selling 3G-enabled iPads.

The complaint further alleges that consumers were convinced to opt for the more expensive 3G model, costing US$130 more than a non-3G model, based on the advertised benefits of having an unlimited data plan and the freedom to continually switch in and out of that plan as their demand for data changed.

The proposed class plaintiffs seek to represent a nationwide class consisting of all individuals and entities within the United States who purchased or ordered an Apple iPad 3G on or before 6th June 2010.

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