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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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  • Contract (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:16AM (#25038509) Journal
    Sorry, but if I'm contracted to certain functions at certain price increments or allotments, I expect those to be honored. If one party decides to change the terms of the contract without discussing (let a lone receiving approval) from the other party, then the first party should be considered to be in breach of contract.

    Or does this mean that I can send AT&T a "customer ToS" and say that I now get unlimited everything on my plan, and if they don't approve they can just walk away from the existing contract?
  • by 2.7182 (819680) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:26AM (#25038671)
    I don't use many minutes. I am tempted to cancel from evil AT&T and get a monthly phone that is real cheap and no contract. Any comments on whether I will get screwed ?
  • Re:Great.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rtech (647652) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:02AM (#25039193)
    No kidding. For what it's worth I really enjoyed my Bellsouth account and have been worried about the quality of service I'd get from AT&T ever since it switched over... didn't we break up that company for a reason??
  • Sue or Arbitration? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OpenYourEyes (563714) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:35AM (#25039737)
    I haven't looked at the TOS in question, but its very very VERY common for there to be a clause stating, roughly, "Instead of suing us, you agree that we will settle all issues through arbitration." With the packed and underfunded court systems around the country, arbitration is often an attractive alternative to both sides (at least in theory).
  • The only recourse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:03PM (#25040131)

    It seems like the only recourse to lawyers honestly trying to do their best by dishonestly doing something that they know will benefit the company more than hurt it is to add weight to the honesty side of the calculus.

    A class action lawsuit, with every single one of their customers as a participant, aimed at a punitive charge for violating known laws (their legal team knew that this was an unenforceable contract, and also knowingly tried to bury the contract so that customer would not see it) would add up to real money.

    We wouldn't see it, of course (we'd get $10? each, total 100 million dollars?), but it would be large enough to make corporate lawyers put more weight on the "what if we get caught" side of the equation. This would benefit every consumer in a large number of industries.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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