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AT&T Buries ToS Changes In 2500-Page Guide 99

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-can't-play-nice dept.
JagsLive points out a story from the business section of the L.A. Times which begins: "Judging from the phone company's voluminous new online customer manual, if you have a problem with your bill, too bad: AT&T has sent customers an 8,000-word service agreement that, among other things, says people will be given 30-day notice of price increases only when 'commercially reasonable' and that you can't sue the company. Oh, and if you don't like AT&T's terms — providing you can make your way through the company's 2,500-page 'guidebook' — your only recourse is to cancel service."
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AT&T Buries ToS Changes In 2500-Page Guide

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  • Here is my brick. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shikaku (1129753) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:15AM (#25038491)

    Upon receipt of said brick through your building, you accept, without any consent to agreement:

    1. That the brick thrower shall not be held accountable for any damage, whether
    accidental or purposeful, or any other damage caused at any point in time, espec
    ially before the brick was thrown.

    2. That you will only use your bare hands to pick up the damage caused by this brick.

    3. That you accept these terms.

  • Re:AT&T (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adpsimpson (956630) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:16AM (#25038507)

    Certainly in the UK, a contract which refuses legal recourse (ie "You can't take us to court") is illegal and, therefore, that clause is automatically null and void.

    On top of that, courts don't look too kindly on companies attempting to enforce illegal contractual clauses.

    Do Americans not have this same protection?

  • Re:AT&T (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gentimjs (930934) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:26AM (#25038675) Journal

    Do Americans not have this same protection?

    No.

    Fixed it for you. Maybe 20 years ago we did, not so much these days.

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rock56501 (1301287) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:48AM (#25038995)
    It's sad to hear about things like this. No reasonable person with a life is going to read that. I guess I actually appreciate the press bringing this to light so some kind of action can be taken on it.

    It also makes me glad that I don't live in CA and that I am on Vonage.

  • Re:lawyers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:21AM (#25039487)

    Well, you can always sue. AFAIK, you can never really waive your right to sue, and clauses stating such are trivially easy to throw out.

  • Re:AT&T (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:31PM (#25042775)

    It's actually not unheard of for Joe Q. LittleGuy to sue MegaCorp and win. The problem is there's a fairly high barrier to entry: you have to retain a lawyer (or find one to work on contingency), then you have to go through months and even years of legal wrangling to prove your case. Is it worth it do go through all that trouble and expense because your phone company raised your rates, or is it easier to just deal with it, and go to another carrier when your contract expires? (Or just tell them to fuck off, cancel service without paying the cancellation fee, let them put a bad mark on your credit report, and get service somewhere else?)

    For most things, it simply isn't worth it to go through the legal system. The legal system in America is a total farce for this reason. The problem is that there's no real disincentive to MegaCorp to pull these shenanigans. So what if Joe Q. LittleGuy wins some court case against them? It's not like they're going to get some huge punitive judgment for being complete assholes and trying to enforce illegal contracts. If there were severe punishments for large companies doing these things, then we'd see a lot less such behavior.

  • Re:Great.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gnu ... org minus distro> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:20PM (#25045307) Homepage

    Colbert explains how AT&T, BellSouth, Cingular, SBC, Ohio Bell, Indiana Bell, ${Other} Bell each bought one another and each others' subdivisions and rebranded the bought parts (with a hilariously confusing arrow diagram), then concludes that:

    Due to American anti-trust regulations, we have gone from this
    [map of USA, parts of Canada and Mexico are showing; a caption says "1980:", there the AT&T logo and name, USA is blue to indicate that it's all pwned by AT&T] ... to this ...
    [the same map, with AT&T's now logo and their name in a new font]

    He then refers to Terminator 2; no matter how many pieces you split AT&T into, it'll always come back together again.

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