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Can I take T-mobile to small claims court or is there someone who can file a class action suit against them?

Austin, TX |

I signed up and bought a blackberry. It auto-powered down several times a week. I was told for the first month that it was user error. I found out that that specific model has this software problem. They refused to give me any other model. All of this is well documented. After about a year and several phones later, I finally broke my contract and went with ATT. No problems. The now have a collection agency pursuing the $400. I have great credit and don't want to loose it. Can I file a small claims action? Where? How? Class action?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

As my colleagues stated, you are very likely bound by an arbitration agreement that includes a class action waiver. Whether the particular arbitration agreement that you unwittingly signed would be enforceable is a complicated legal question that no lawyer can answer without seeing the agreement and extensive legal research concerning whether similar agreements have been held unconscionable or enforceable.

Some arb clauses do permit suits in small claims court - so that would be something to look for in your case. Otherwise, you would have to arbitrate your dispute in a forum bought and paid for by the company. And you can probably guess how that will turn out.

Finally, there have been many suits against telecom companies concerning early termination fees, so if there actually were a viable case, somebody probably brought it already. But it never hurts to do a little research and see I there is still something possible on that front.

Legal Information is Not Legal Advice My answer provides information about the law based on the limited information provided in the questions asked and is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The answer to the question is for educational and informational purposes only. The law differs in each jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on the jurisdiction or situation. Accordingly, I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney to discuss the details of your problem so you can get legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

I feel that they broke their service agreement by not supplying me with a working phone. I would gladly have stayed if they had replace the non-working phone with any working phone, regardless of lesser monetary value.

Asker

Posted

Can I take this to small claims court?

Eric Lechtzin

Eric Lechtzin

Posted

depends on the terms of the arbitration clause. but if they are pursuing you for $400, bringing them to court may be a mistake. it's unlikely they will sue you over such a small amount, but they can counterclaim against you if you bring them into court. you can protect your credit rating by notifying the credit bureaus that the debt is disputed.

Asker

Posted

That's a great point. Really helpful!

Eric Lechtzin

Eric Lechtzin

Posted

You're welcome. Don't forget to mark answers as "Helpful" and "Best Answer."

Posted

These days, it is a legal fact of life that most, if not all consumer contracts contain mandatory arbitration clauses. These clauses, also known as alternative dispute resolution clauses, contain language in which a consumer has waived all rights to pursue any remedy in court and instead is bound to bring any and all claims through arbitration. Furthermore, many of these clauses also contain class action waivers.
You should read your contract carefully.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POSTING IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. THE FURNISHING OF THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES THE FURNISHING, REVIEW, AND SIGNING OF A RETAINER AGREEMENT.

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Asker

Posted

So, I should become a ludite or not complain when I am treated unjustly?

Jeffrey Steven Feinberg

Jeffrey Steven Feinberg

Posted

If your goal is simply to "complain", then perhaps you should write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or post your opinion on a consumer blog. However, if you seek guidance on what, if any, legal remedies are available, don't become bitter when the answer isn't what you wanted to hear.

Asker

Posted

I did read the contract, basically the same for all cell phone carriers. I am sure you have a cell phone as well and must have signed the same contract. Admonishment for not reading the contract is not helpful. The point is that I was sold a defective item and trying to figure out if small claims or arbitration would be successful venue. As atty Lechtzin pointed out, they can counter sue if I file a small claims action. That leaves arbitration, which, as was pointed out, would be controlled by the phone company. The best response seems to be to just file a response with the credit reporting agencys. Thanks

Asker

Posted

I am sure the phone company has sold defective items many times before, so I had been wondering about class action. That no longer seems feasible.

Asker

Posted

The blackberry phone that I was sold, I later found out, had many online complaints about the same issue of auto-powering down. I think the phone company knew about the defective phone before they sold it.

Posted

Mr. Feinberg is correct that it is likely you signed a mandatory arbitration agreement when you purchased your Blackberry. If you believe they are trying to collect a debt you don't owe, you might have a case for a violation of the debt collection statutes.

For a free consultation about your issue, please call (850) 727-5964. My answer to your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

As you indicated YOU broke the contract, and provided them with legal cause to sue you. Your "well documented " troubles MAY serve as a defense to any suit on the debt.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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