Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The 20 Cent Lawsuit

Normally we overlook legal affairs of the wireless carriers because these lawsuits come and go. But one legal move just won't go away. There are multiple class action, anti-trust lawsuits against the top 5 wireless carriers, Alltel, AT&T, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. It seems as though a number of people, or is it a number of lawyers, feel that there is some kind of collusion among these carriers because they all recently raised their a la carte Text Messaging rates to .20 each. That is the basis of lawsuits filed in Ohio, Illinois and Kansas.

We're not quick to come to the defense of the now-too-large wireless carriers, but in this case, what's wrong with 20 cents? I agree it's outrageously high, but if all carriers are being sued for charging that price, why aren't they also being penalized for all having a $39.99 price place, or a $99 Unlimited plan?

I can smell attorney's fees and out-of-court settlements that will not benefit the customer with anything other than higher prices or reduced services. I have yet to receive my free headset from the AT&T settlement of 2002, and even though my Campbell settlement from Verizon Wireless involves a cash discount, that is still over a year away. Real people don't win anything from these lawsuits.

What do we do? I handed my SpeakOut prepaid phone to my son so he can Text away at .05 per text, and if I should want to send a Text, I'll use my T-Mobile to Go phone which is still .05 in/.10 out. Normally, I just use my monthly minutes of use (MOU) and send an email to these addresses for no additional cash charge. Make money in wireless? Be an attorney!

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