Clearwire is facing a potential class action lawsuit from a group of subscribers who are voicing concern about ‘slow and unreliable’ service. The lawsuit claims that Clearwire does not live up to its advertising of “… a fast, reliable ‘always-on’ alternative to cable or DSL internet access, and as a superior alternative to traditional land-line telephone service.” The complaint goes on to say that when subscribers try to cancel their service because that advertising claim is not met, they are charged early termination fees of $220. The lawsuit argues since the advertising is ‘deceptive,’ the early termination fees are unlawful.
Now, is this a legitimate claim, or just some law firm trying to leverage a few dissatisfied customers? Anyone who has been in the service provider business knows it’s impossible to satisfy 100% of customers 100% of the time. Sometimes claims like these are perfectly legitimate, especially when service providers fail to address pervasive quality of service lapses. Unfortunately, in rare cases, it’s an example of customers looking for a loophole to get out of a contract. Or worse, maybe a customer or two suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and looking to take some pressure off. Call me cynical, but I sometimes think some of these class action lawsuits are a law firm’s lucrative solution looking for a problem, unnecessarily clogging up our court system.
4 thoughts on “Clearwire Facing Potential Class Action Lawsuit”
If ClearWire has created an express warranty by things it has said or done, and the service doesn’t live up to that warranty, the action may be successful. The opposite is “puffery”- even though ClearWire and its sales people are considered merchants and experts, some statements are just opinions which a reasonable person should not, under normal circumstances, rely on. The case seems a bit frivolous to me, too; the law firm moves from slow and unreliable as their concern, to the early termination fee. I would want to see the evidence before forming much of an opinion. What was promised? How poor is the service for these customers? How one-sided is the contract language?
Its true you can’t please all the customers all of the time, but when you take the collective complaints at DSL Reports and Clearwire Sucks, then you look at the stuff I’ve compiled at Clearwire Blows.
You don’t just see “a few disgruntled customers”, you see a massive trend of regular internet user’s complaints about Clearwire’s poor service.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say they should prevent Clearwire from enforcing an early termination fee. However, if Clearwire knows that a particular area is saturated and suffers from regularly poor service, even though they promise and advertise great service, they should let the customer go without a fuss.
The main objective this lawsuit needs to serve is the impress upon Clearwire just how poorly received their service is. That the “average” internet user is now “averaging” far more bandwidth and line capacity than in the past. As such, overselling service to points of saturation needs to be reevaluated.
And ultimately, they need to make good on their promise. If they advertise 2.0Mbps download… you should be able to get that at least what 75% of the time is a good medium?
Just because on occasion you might HIT 2.0Mbps doesn’t mean they should advertise that they are offering that, if it isn’t the case.
I can tell you that their service DOES suck and that those who are unfortunate enough to have them as their (lack of) provider are being seriously cheated of what it is they are paying for… fast, reliable, always on service. VERY close friend is one of the unfortunate ones… we used to be able to send emails back and forth daily… now, if he's lucky he MIGHT be able to access a service he is paying for every 3 or 4 days and even then that's questionable. But he's in a contract with them and faces penalties if he terminates his contract early (and in an economy where job loss and uncertainty is a reality, throwing away money that can't be afforded isn't an option).