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AT&T, Apple Face Another iPhone Class Action Lawsuit

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Another unhappy iPhone customer has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. and AT&T Mobility LLC .  The plaintiff, an Alabama man, claims the defendants misrepresented the iPhone’s multimedia messaging service (MMS) capabilities for the 3G and 3G-S iPhones.

MMS capability is key for sending text messages accompanied by a photo, video or other form of media. The original iPhone and iPhone 3G lacked MMS capability.  But by the time Apple planned to launch the iPhone 3G-S, such functionality was  widely available on other smartphones.  The complaint claims that Apple and AT&T advertised on its Web site and elsewhere that the 3G and 3G-S would allow the MMS functionality.  Because of this advertising, many consumers chose to buy or upgrade to a 3G or 3G-S.

According to the complaint, when the 3G iPhone was launched in July 2008, consumers began to realize that it did not have the MMS functionality.  The complaint claims that the defendant’s response to consumer complaints  “was essentially to say ‘tough luck.’”

In early 2009, the lawsuit alleges that AT&T sales reps promised MMS functionality would become available for both 3G and 3G-S when the new iPhone OS Software Update free download would become available in June.  But after downloading the new OS 3.0 Software Update application, MMS still did not work on either the 3G or 3G-S, the complaint says.

It wasn’t until September 25, 2009 that the defendants allegedly activated MMS for iPhone 3G and 3G-S users in the U.S. through a software update to iPhone OS 3.1.  According to the complaint, AT&T had never upgraded its towers so as to support the functionality necessary for MMS prior to September 25, 2009,  and so the iPhone could not offer MMS as claimed.  Even after the upgrade, results with MMS activation have been mixed, the complaint says.

The complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama,  seeks class action status to benefit all Alabama residents who have purchased a 3G or 3G-S model iPhone since July 2008.

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