These cases involve AT&T Wireless’s unfair and deceptive practice of imposing upon its customers an undisclosed extra charge to recover a business overhead expense it had to pay to operate as a wireless carrier. AT&T called this charge a “universal connectivity charge” or “UCC.” Although this charge was created by AT&T, it was applied like a tax on the consumer, above and beyond the monthly price of service that customers had agreed to pay. After litigating this case through multiple courts including the California and Washington Courts of Appeal and the Washington Supreme Court, we have reached a nationwide settlement with AT&T Wireless’s successor, AT&T Mobility, under which AT&T will provide cash benefits to each class member who makes a claim.
The class consists of all U.S. customers of AT&T Wireless who were charged and paid a universal connectivity charge, and comprises over 50 million people. The settlement has been preliminarily approved, along with settlements in several similar cases against AT&T Wireless, in federal district court in Los Angeles. Formal notice will be provided to class members, describing the settlement, the claims process, and class members’ options. That is expected to occur during summer 2010. The final approval hearing is set for November 15, 2010.