Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Using DataConnect From AT&T You Better Read The TOS

Many users using AT&T's DataConnect plan with those subsidized netbooks might be shocked to learn that your $60/mo bill only includes 5GB of total data usage. Yes that's correct those of you that have jumped on those $99 netbook deals that AT&T, Dell and Radio Shack have been offering had better check your contract and read the fine.

Billie Parks of Oklahoma found out the hard way when she received a $5,077 bill from AT&T. Yes that's right a $5k bill for monthly overage fees. Parks has since filed a lawsuit claiming she was misled by both AT&T and Radio Shack when she purchased her new netbook as part of a cross promotion between the two companies back in December.

At that time customers could purchase a new, subsidized, netbook from Radio Shack at a discounted price of $99.99 in exchange for signing a two-year AT&T DataConnect contract. However, what the fine print of that deal didn't tell you, at least according to Mrs. Parks lawsuit, is that there is a 5GB monthly cap. For that information you have to visit the AT&T site and actually look through the DataConnect rate plans.

But because neither AT&T nor Radio Shack explicitly spelled this out in their DataConnect customer service summary, the suit alleges that the companies' wireless service agreements were "deceptive, misleading and utterly incomprehensible to the average consumer."

"We're reviewing the suit and don’t have a comment on it at this time," AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom told Ars Technica. "But I can tell you that we go to considerable lengths to inform customers of the limits involved in these plans. We display the plan usage limits and overage rates on our collateral, terms and conditions, and on att.com, And customers can check their usage using myWireless Account or by using the usage monitoring capability on the AT&T Communications Manager application."

Earlier this year AT&T teamed with Dell to offer a similar promotion for Dell's Inspiron Mini 9. The details of that promotion are similar to those of the Radio Shack offering.

Through Jan. 31, 2009, digital nomads can purchase a select Inspiron Mini 9 that is regularly $449 for $99 after a $350 Dell mail-in rebate and the purchase of a two-year AT&T Laptop Connect agreement for $60 per month. Additional fees apply

It does say additional fees may apply but again no mention is made of a 5GB monthly cap. As often is the case in the deals the burden really does fall on the end user to make sure they know what they are getting. Even if the deal doesn't explicitly say there is a cap you need to do your research and check out what you are buying or what you are getting for the price you are paying.

I made mention of this when I originally questioned the actual cost of a $99 netbook. When you actually do the math you would have been spending over $1,500 over the course of the 2yr contract. As also mentioned there were other alternatives out there could have ended up saving you money. Now that we see there is a 5GB monthly limit it appears as though seeking alternatives might be a better option.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be moderate for content, please be patient as your comment will appear as soon as it has been reviewed.

Thank you