A class action lawsuit against AT&T has accused the company of allegedly aiding thieves and fleecing customers of their money through reactivating stolen phones, lying about inability to block phones, and are using these facts to make customers buy new phones.
The lawsuit claims that AT&T is doing this to make millions of dollars by forcing customers to buy new cellphones, new plans, all while criminals are able to walk into a store and reactivate the phone with SIM cards. Plaintiffs are suing on the charges of conspiracy, fraud, breach of contract, accessory to theft, and unfair trade. Very powerful accusations.
The plaintiffs claim that iPhones and other cellphones are stolen regularly from users across the country. They say that each cell is identifiable as a handheld by the IMEI, and that the serial number on the phone is clearly visible to anyone who would be putting in and activating a new SIM card.
Because of an apparent refusal to prevent theft, they are accused of assisting thieves and earning illegal profits by reactivating a stolen phone. It has also been said that AT&T representatives will not and cannot block usage of cellphones that have been stolen, and this is believed to be an outright lie. By extension they are accused of knowingly and intentionally refusing to render the cellphone about as useful as a paperweight by cutting it off from the service.
It has also been said that the plaintiffs have repeatedly asked AT&T to track, record, or refuse reactivation of stolen phones, but this has not been done even though it is simple to accomplish. The plaintiffs seek both disgorgement and punitive damages from AT&T.
These are very bold accusations, but if AT&T is truly not doing their part to help paying customers get their products back after it has been stolen, or reactivating a stolen phone, then I’m certain the law is being broken.
To explain one aspect of this, an IMEI is an International Mobile Equipment Identity, a unique number used to identify mobile phones. The number is used by a GSM network to identify valid devices, and individual numbers can be blocked if they are not valid. Because of this, an entire iPhone can be rendered useless in terms of connection features.
Not only that, but the system allows a phone’s general location to be tracked, and if someone purchases a SIM card, then that means someone had to interact with someone in a store.