AT&T Gets Dirty, Threatens Plaintiff With Termination Of Service Unless He Shuts Up [Update: AT&T Responds]

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Let me catch you up: Matt Spaccarelli, an everyday guy from California, recently took AT&T to small claims court regarding its questionable throttling practices. The judge ruled in his favor on February 24 and ordered AT&T to pay Spaccarelli $850 on the basis that the throttled speed does not live up to AT&T’s much-advertised promise of the nation’s “fastest network.” Anyway, the social consumer activist site PublikDemand recently rallied support around the story and posted a series of tips on how any consumer could do the same.

Now, two and a half weeks after Spaccarelli’s case was settled in small claims court, a lawyer for AT&T is reaching out and offering a slightly new settlement if he signs an NDA to stop talking about his case. But that’s the normal part. The letter starts out by explaining that since Spaccarelli is using his wireless data plan for tethering — a fact he admitted in court — AT&T “has the right to terminate [his] service.” It’s ’bout to get nasty in here.

As far as I can tell Spaccarelli does not need to sign this NDA. There’s also nothing in this initial letter that guarantees AT&T will not cancel his service based on tethering at a later time anyway. He might lose his service with AT&T, but I’m completely surprised he’s still there. Instead, he should simply pursue the small claims initial ruling of $850 and move to a different carrier. It’s very clear through the wording of the letter that AT&T is more interested in shutting the guy up than using his troubles to improve their wireless service. I wouldn’t want to support a company like that.

AT&T just doesn’t get it. The court ordered the massive wireless carrier to pay $850. That’s it. Their fucking lawyer probably charges $850 an hour. Instead, AT&T is going to have to clean up from yet another viral marketing mess.

UPDATE: AT&T just sent over a statement to TC concerning Matt Spaccarelli.

Mr. Spaccarelli reached out to us to initiate a discussion, and naturally, we responded to him to hear what was on his mind and discuss his data usage. Mr. Spaccarelli has said he tethers a second device to his smartphone, which is something that our unlimited data plans don’t allow. For customers who tether, we have plans that allow them to do just that.