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AT&T is about to get away with its bogus $1.99 'administrative fee'

AT&T is about to get away with its bogus $1.99 'administrative fee'

Since 2013, AT&T has quietly billed customers hundreds of millions of dollars with bogus "administrative fees." That fee more than doubled to $1.99 per month in 2018. For a few years, a California class-action lawsuit made it through. It looks like AT&T may finally be put to work. But in May, both sides told a judge that they would settle for only $14 million — meaning customers could get less than 10 percent of what AT&T paid for, while AT&T would charge them. . continues to do.

In June, the judge provisionally approved that settlement -- and today, July 29, we're hearing AT&T and sending customers a link to a currently-blank website where settlement claim forms will go live. .

Viano v. According to the settlement agreement at AT&T Mobility, as of 2015, nearly every AT&T Wireless postpaid customer in California will be eligible for an estimated payment of between $15 and $29.

But then, that's only a fraction of AT&T's own record of what it charges: an average of $180 per customer since 2015, according to the documents. The settlement "represents a return of approximately 6-11 months of the average fee," they read. Meanwhile, the lawyers are likely to get $3.5 million.

“Estimated payment amounts represent a strong outcome for the settlement class, especially given the substantial risks, costs and continued litigation delays,” reads the proposed settlement agreement, the lawyers suing AT&T believe. is. AT&T may still win the case.

In case you're wondering whether the fees are bogus, there's little question: Judge Laurel Bealer previously restrained AT&T from trying to quash the case because the company "misleadingly and unfairly disclosed [administrative fees]." passed." -- as a cost." That means, AT&T can't pretend it's an unexpected expense that it's only passing along to its customers -- the carrier is benefiting from it! And yet, plaintiffs 's legal team is not going to chase victory.

Oh, and if you're still an AT&T customer, you won't even get a check in the mail, assuming this version of the settlement is approved. The money will be deposited back into your AT&T account, where AT&T can hand it back again for that $1.99 -- or more if it feels excited enough to raise the fee again. (Of course, an AT&T account can be a more reliable way of making sure customers get their money back.)

If you think it is unfair, the court will hold a "fairness hearing" before the end of October. If you're able to speak your mind—there are over five million people—you'll find the details in the fine print of a future settlement notification.

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