A CBS News investigation has revealed over 4,200 customer complaints that have been filed with the federal government against AT&T and DirecTV relating to false deals, rescinded promotions, and overcharging in the past two years alone. An excellent video report by correspondent Anna Werner lays out the story and describes how the company reportedly overcharges consumers, in part by first offering drastic discounts that disappear once monthly bills start showing up.
One customer describes signing up for an internet and television promotion for $100 per month for two years, only to find when his first bill arrived that he was being charged nearly twice that amount. This despite ad copy in AT&T’s own tv ads promising “The bundled price you sign up for is guaranteed to stay the same for two years.” But apparently that’s just not the case.
Another customer signed up for services promised at $24.99 for two years, only to start receiving monthly bills for three times that amount. As CBS reports, during over three hours of attempts of pleading with AT&T customer service to get her promised bill restored, five different representatives gave her five different explanations for why she’d be stuck paying three times the promised amount. Some of the representatives even had the nerve to blame her, offering the ridiculous explanation that the increase had been made by the customer. “It wasn’t done on our end, it was on your end.”
As bad as that sounds, the story gets worse when customers attempt to get fair treatment from the giant media company. As Public Justice’s Paul Bland explained to CBS, consumers can’t even try to take AT&T to court over their allegedly fraudulent conduct, because the company contracts expressly ban lawsuits, forcing customers instead into arbitration. How many of AT&T’s 150 million customers found resolution via arbitration in the last two years? 18. Not 18 million — eighteen customers total.
You can watch the full report on the CBS News website, and learn more about consumer rights at Public Justice.
Lieff Cabraser’s Consumer Protection Practice
False advertising, bait and switch marketing, phony disclosure of manipulative bookkeeping devices, unconscionable pricing, and charging for services never provided are some of the many unfair and deceptive practices rogue corporations use to defraud consumers.
Lieff Cabraser advises consumers as well as businesses whether and how to pursue legal action to halt and obtain compensation for the deceptive practices of large corporations. With a blend of courage, superior legal skills, and high principles, we protect our clients’ interests and help them achieve their goals by winning highly-complex consumer protection lawsuits against those that have defrauded consumers.
We have successfully prosecuted scores of consumer class action lawsuits against many of the largest U.S. banks, financial service companies, and corporations. Working with co-counsel, we have achieved judgments and settlements in excess of $3 billion for consumers in these cases, including over $200 million in lawsuits over abusive and harassing robocalls and text messages brought under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.