AT&T texts mobile users about class-action settlement

AT&T Mobility notified its subscribers Thursday that they might be entitled to benefits from a proposed class-action settlement over alleged improper charging of Internet taxes.

Subscribers sued AT&T earlier this year, saying the carrier charged them Internet taxes on their mobile service bills in violation of the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act and other laws. Suits in various courts were transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Chicago. AT&T and the plaintiffs in the case, who represented a broad class of AT&T Mobility customers, reached a settlement agreement in July.

On Thursday, AT&T notified its customers via text message that they might qualify for benefits in the proposed settlement. The message directed the subscribers to a Website with more information about the case, including details of a hearing to be held March 10, 2011, in the Chicago court, to determine if the settlement is fair. The deal still needs to be approved by the court.

The proposed settlement defines the class of plaintiffs as all AT&T Mobility customers who were charged Internet taxes on bills from Nov. 1, 2005, through Sept. 7, 2010. It does not specify how much a given subscriber might receive in benefits. AT&T did not admit wrongdoing. As part of the proposed deal, AT&T agreed to stop charging the taxes if the court approves the settlement.

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