SoCal iPhone user wins case against AT&T over data throttling

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File: An Apple Store customer looks at the new Apple iPhone 4Gs on Oct. 14, 2011 in San Francisco.

Never get between a smartphone user and his data plan — an angry customer from the San Fernando Valley sued AT&T for throttling back his data speed, and he won. This could open the floodgates.

When Matt Spaccarelli got his iPhone, he signed up for AT&T’s unlimited data plan. And he figured, “unlimited” meant exactly that.

But late last year, AT&T started throttling back speeds for the top 5 percent of its smartphone subscribers, because smartphone use was exploding and the company needed to handle the load.

Spaccarelli says AT&T broke its word. He took them to small claims court in Simi Valley, and David beat Goliath.

The judge awarded Spaccarelli $850, and that may be just the beginning.

AT&T’s smartphone contract prohibits you from joining in a class-action suit. Your only options: arbitration or small claims court.

Which means thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of frustrated customers may soon head to court — to throttle AT&T.

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