Use overstated by 7 to 300 percent, lawyers claim
The carrier overbilled on every recorded transaction, the lawyers elaborate. While the surcharge was only 7 to 14 percent in most instances, spikes of up to 300 percent were observed. For an individual the impact may be only $10 to $15 a month, but the lawyers suggest that given millions of AT&T subscribers, the company could be making substantial amounts of cash by not providing accurate billing.
AT&T insists that the allegations are "without merit," and also that customers misunderstand how data is charged. People may for instance be unaware of automatic app updates happening in the background, the company says. It may be referring to things like push notifications, which require status checks that consume small amounts of data.
Update: AT&T has released a more detailed statement to MacNN. "Accurate billing is clearly important and, unfortunately, there have been some incorrect claims about our data usage billing practices," a spokesman says. "We properly bill for all data that our customers send and receive, including data activity that runs in the background on smartphones and other powerful data devices. Data usage for emailing, downloading applications, browsing the web, downloading a video or streaming music is applied to a customers' data plan. So are real-time updates to applications, such as weather, sports scores, or stock tickers.
"Particularly for smartphones, tablets and other advanced mobile devices, applications are often constantly running in the background and engaged with our network."