Retained by plaintiff Patrick Hendricks, a representative from an independent consulting firm visited an AT&T store, purchased a brand new iPhone, and then disabled all location services and push notifications. All of the applications on the new iPhone were closed, no email account was configured with the device, and it sat untouched -- the plaintiff claims -- for ten days. "During this 10-day period, AT&T billed the test account for 35 data transactions totaling 2,292 KB of usage," Courthouse News Service reported. "This is like the rigged gas pump charging you when you never even pulled your car into the station."
The so-called phantom data traffic charges are just one component of a new federal class action lawsuit that AT&T Mobility is faced with concerning the company's iPhone and iPad services. The other: systematically overbilling for data usage. The independent consulting firm spent two months studying AT&T's billing practices and concluded that the company regularly overstates web server traffic by somewhere between seven and 14 percent, and sometimes overstates data usage by as much as 300 percent. "If an iPhone user downloaded a 50KB website for example, an AT&T bill might overstate the traffic as 53.5KB," Electronista explained. "The billed usage would potentially go as high as 150KB, the suit says."