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Apple, AT&T settle 'bait and switch' iPad 3G data plan lawsuit

Forty bucks may be waiting for you, aggrieved iPad owner

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Apple and AT&T have agreed to a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that may drop forty bucks into your pocket should you have purchased a 3G-enabled iPad before June 7, 2010.

The lawsuit, filed on June 9, 2010, accused Apple and AT&T of using bait-and-switch chicanery when selling those iPads, promising unlimited data plans that would, the complaint alleged, "always be available at the customers option" – but such plans were eliminated by AT&T on June 7, 2010.

"Apple and AT&T announced this policy change," the complaint explained, "within just weeks after selling hundreds of thousands of 3G-enabled iPads upon the product's initial launch."

The complaint also noted that the 3G-enabled iPads in question "cost customers approximately $130 more (before tax) than an equivalent iPad without 3G capability."

The terms of the proposed settlement won't recoup that entire amount, however. Agreed to last Thursday, the Apple half of the settlement will "pay $40, in the form of a check," to anyone who purchased a 3G iPad on or before June 7, 2010, if they "submit a timely and valid claim."

For its part, AT&T will provide folks who purchased a 3G-enabled iPad but didn't sign up for a data plan with a 5GB data plan at a discounted price of $30 – a $20 discount – for up to one year. If AT&T should reduce its 5GB data plan price, the discount will remain at $20. If the claimant no longer owns the iPad in question, they can use the discount on a later-generation iPad.

Both Apple and AT&T will be required to notify all affected iPad purchasers by either email or snail mail, and a "Settlement Website" and toll-free telephone number will be set up to handle claims.

"Both settlements are the product of arms-length negotiations between the parties and their experienced counsels," the Notice of Motion reports, "who were well-informed about the legal and factual issues involved."

Those experienced counsels, the settlement states, may receive up to $1.5m from Apple and up to $250,000 from AT&T. The five plaintiffs in the case will each receive "up to $1,000 each, to compensate them for their commitment on behalf of the class members in these cases." ®

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