AT&T and Apple hit with class action over iPhone MMS promises

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple and AT&T in the Eastern District of Louisiana on the grounds that Apple's "print and video advertisements [for the iPhone 3G S] in and on television, the Internet, the radio, newspapers, and direct mailers all touted the availability of MMS," but the functionality remains unavailable.

The complaint, filed one week ago, says "Millions of customers, including Louisiana residents, purchased the 3G and 3G S waiting for the day in June 2009 when the new application would be available which would allow MMS. Unfortunately, after downloading the new 3.0 software update application, MMS still did not work on both the 3G and 3G S...The only excuse offered by AT&T and Apple is a mouse-print disclaimer on the Web site, in barely readable font, which reads 'MMS Support from AT&T coming in late summer.'

The complaint estimates that at least 10,000 individuals could eventually comprise the class.

Apple fans who have heard the story are already jumping on the issue. Seth Weintraub of 9 to 5 Mac said "Frankly, MMS is a dinosaur of a technology and won't be around in 5 years.  It also enables telcos to charge you for something that should be free.  You can accomplish everything MMS does on mobile e-mail so long as your recipient has e-mail on their phone."

However, MMS is still a common method of sharing media between phones, and the issue at hand is AT&T and Apple's alleged customer deception. The suit cites an Apple troubleshooting article under the heading, "To send and receive MMS messages on your iPhone 3G, do the following..." which links to a page showing carriers that support MMS.

"Clicking on that hyperlink leads to a page showing several countries," the suit says. "Clicking on North America and Viewing the graph for USA under the headline 'AT&T,' it shows that AT&T is not a carrier which offers MMS! Of course, AT&T is the only carrier in the United States used by the iPhone. In other words, AT&T's towers do not support MMS."

"When and if AT&T finally upgrades its towers, the millions of iPhone purchasers will get what they bargained for in terms of MMS," the complaint continues. "But in the meantime, all the millions of purchasers of the 3G and 3G S iPhone have been deceived and cheated out of what they thought they were purchasing -- a phone with MMS functionality."

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