Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the lawsuit about?
- Why is this a class action?
- Who is included in the Settlement?
- What services are included?
- What are the benefits of the Settlement?
- When would I get my benefit?
- Who is representing the Class Members in this case?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- How can I get more information?
- Will I be paid all the taxes that were charged to me?
- Do I have to submit something to receive my benefits?
- How will I be paid my benefit?
- Can I apply my benefit to my AT&T Mobility bill?
- I think I’m eligible for a benefit payment. How do I monitor when I might receive my benefit payment?
- Is this Settlement final, or can I object or exclude myself from the Settlement?
- What should I do if I received a check in the mail from Bank of NY Mellon for this settlement?
- If my refund was less than a dollar, why send a check for such a small amount of money?
- Have all class members received refund checks?
This is a case that relates to AT&T Mobility’s practice of charging customers for taxes, fees and surcharges on internet access through certain services. These services include iPhone data plans, Blackberry data plans, other smart phone data plans, laptop connect cards and pay-per-use data services. The lawsuit alleges that these practices are not permitted under the Internet Tax Freedom Act, 47 U.S.C. § 151 (1998) (as amended) and other state laws. As a result, the lawsuit claims that AT&T Mobility is liable for damages to the Class. AT&T Mobility denies that it did anything wrong, denies that it violated any laws, and raised a number of defenses to the claims.
The Court did not decide in favor of the Class Representatives or AT&T Mobility. The lawyers who initially brought this case, referred to as “Class Counsel,” have investigated the facts and applicable law regarding the Class Representatives' claims and AT&T Mobility's defenses. The parties have engaged in lengthy negotiations in reaching this Settlement. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe that the proposed Settlement is a good deal for the Class. The Court agreed, deciding under the appropriate legal standards that the proposed Settlement is indeed fair, reasonable and adequate and in the best interests of the Class. Both sides agree that, by settling, AT&T Mobility is not admitting any liability or that it did anything wrong, but both sides want to avoid the uncertainties and high cost in time and money in litigation of this type.
Class actions are lawsuits in which the claims and rights of many people are decided
in a single court proceeding. Representative Plaintiffs ("Class Representatives")
are named in the lawsuit to assert the claims of the entire class. This avoids the
necessity for a large number of people to file similar individual lawsuits and enables
the court system to resolve similar claims in an efficient and economical way. Class
actions provide a vehicle whereby people with similar claims are treated alike.
In a class action, the court is guardian of class interests and supervises the prosecution
of the class claims by class counsel to assure that the representation is adequate.
Class Members are not individually responsible for the costs or fees of counsel,
which are subject to court award.
You are a part of the Settlement if you paid taxes, fees or surcharges to AT&T Mobility
on internet access through certain services including iPhone data plans, Blackberry
data plans, other smart phone data plans, laptop connect cards and pay-per-use data
services on bills issued from November 1, 2005 up to and including September 7,
Excluded from the Class are (i) AT&T Mobility, any entity in which AT&T Mobility
has a controlling interest or which has a controlling interest in AT&T Mobility,
and AT&T Mobility's legal representatives, predecessors, successors and assigns;
(ii) governmental entities; (iii) AT&T Mobility's officers, directors, agents and
representatives; and (iv) the Court presiding over any motion to approve this Settlement
The following is a list of the internet access services included in the Settlement:
Plan Category and Primary Features/Characteristics
Data Connect Plans Web access and ability to send and receive internet e-mail
through a computer equipped with a laptop data card.
Smart-phone Data Features "Bolt-on" Web access and ability to send and receive
Smart-phone Standalone Data Plans Web access and ability to send and receive
iPhone Data Plans Web access and ability to send and receive internet e-mail.
Personal Blackberry Plans Web access and ability to send and receive internet
e-mail; also includes access to Blackberry APN, which provides push e-mail, and
contacts/calendar synchronization through RIM server.
Enterprise Smartphone Plans (using RIM/Blackberry, Goodlink, or Microsoft application
provider) Same as Personal Blackberry plans, and also provides enterprise
customer's end users the ability to send and receive internal and internet e-mail
to and from e-mail addresses provided by the enterprise customer.
If you determine that you are a member of the Class, you may receive benefits under
the Settlement. Essentially the Settlement benefits are three-fold:
First, AT&T Mobility will stop collecting the taxes it has been collecting
and paying to states, counties and cities. AT&T Mobility will not collect the tax
again unless the applicable laws of the United States or a state change or such
laws are interpreted to require or permit AT&T Mobility to begin collecting the
Second, AT&T Mobility, at its sole expense, will prepare and process tax
refund claims for filing with the various taxing authorities (e.g., state or county
or municipal taxing agencies) seeking a refund of the Internet Taxes collected by
AT&T Mobility from the Settlement Class and paid by AT&T Mobility to the taxing
jurisdictions. AT&T Mobility and/or the Class Representatives will file the refund
claims. The refund claims will be based on the amount of taxes each account holder
paid to AT&T Mobility. As part of the Settlement, AT&T Mobility has assigned its
rights, title and interest in such refunds to the Settlement Class to settle the
claims made by the Class. Significantly, AT&T Mobility has agreed to pay the money
owed up front, even if a taxing jurisdiction issues future tax credits to AT&T Mobility
in lieu of a refund of monies sought on a refund claim for Internet Taxes. Thus,
AT&T Mobility has agreed to pay the credited amount to the escrow accounts established
pursuant to the Settlement. If the use of the future tax credit will be spread over
a three (3) year period or less, AT&T Mobility shall pay monies to the escrow accounts
equal to the total future tax credits. If the use of the future tax credit will
be spread over a period longer than three (3) years, AT&T Mobility shall pay monies
to the escrow accounts based upon a payment formula. Under this formula, the payments
are equal to the net present value of such future tax credits of the fourth and
succeeding years using a 5% discount rate to compute the net present value. The
amount of the first three (3) years shall be paid with no discount.
Third, AT&T Mobility has agreed to pay to the Settlement Class any vendor's
compensation. Vendor’s compensation is the amount of money AT&T Mobility was allowed
to retain from the sales tax it collected as compensation for collecting the taxes
for some (but not all) taxing jurisdictions. Vendor's compensation paid under the
Settlement does not include amounts to which AT&T would have been entitled independent
of the collection of Internet Taxes based on limitations on the amount of credit
allowed pursuant to applicable law. All refunds or payments by AT&T Mobility related
to credits and payments of the vendor's compensation will fund separate escrow accounts
for the benefit of the Settlement Class.
Payments to Settlement Class Members will be made only after all of the refunds/credits are made from each taxing jurisdiction in each state and after deduction of Court approved costs, expenses and attorneys' fees and Class Representative Compensation.
The Settlement Administrator will send out the benefits as soon as monies are received from the taxing jurisdictions to which your payments to AT&T Mobility were remitted. This may take some time, so please be patient.
The attorneys representing the Class, and their addresses, are shown in the response
to question 13 above. These lawyers are called Settlement Class Counsel.
The Court has approved the attorneys' fees, expenses and Class Representative Compensation to be paid from funds received from the refund claims and AT&T Mobility. Those approved amounts are deducted from the amount due the class before checks are issued.
More information is available on this website. You can read the Settlement Agreement
by clicking here. Or you may view the papers filed in this
Lawsuit during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the Court, United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Everett
McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL
60604. File: In Re: AT&T Mobility Wireless Data Services Sales Tax Litigation,
MDL No. 2147, Case No. 1:10-cv-02278. You can also call 1-877-905-8928 for information.
The full Settlement Agreement and the pleadings filed in the Actions can be requested,
in writing, from Class Counsel. Addresses for Class Counsel are available in the
response to question 13 above.
No. The legal fees associated with the Settlement and the costs of administering
the fund, etc. will be deducted from each Class Member’s share of the Settlement.
The amount you may receive also will be affected by the taxing jurisdictions’ decisions
on the refund claims. Finally, the amount of your benefit payment will depend upon
the amount of the tax that you were charged, and that amount depends upon the type
of service you had and the particular state and/or local taxes you were charged
based on your location.
No. You do not need to do anything. AT&T Mobility can identify who was assessed
taxes and the amount of those taxes. However, if you change your billing address,
please send written notification of your old and new address, along with your account
number(both current and if applicable, old/inactive) and phone number to the Settlement
Administrator using the following address:
ATTM Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 57098
Washington DC, 20037-7098
If you desire to be in the Class, please do not send any materials to Class Counsel
or the Settlement Administrator. Do not mail copies of bills or other correspondence.
This will not aid in the payment of benefits and may lengthen the time and cost
of administering the payments.
If you have questions, please do not contact the Court or AT&T Mobility, but review
all materials on this site.
The Settlement Administrator will issue you a check and mail it to the most recent
address the Settlement Administrator has on file.
to check www.attmsettlement.com
for details regarding the Settlement. If you are a valid Class Member and have provided
your current address to the Settlement Administrator, you will receive a refund
The Settlement is final and all court proceedings are complete. Any opportunity to exclude yourself or object to the settlement have expired and you are now included as a member of the settlement class.
You should cash the check. The check is full payment of the amount due you for your refund of sales taxes that were improperly collected from you by AT&T for certain services involving internet access. This is payment in full of your tax refund in this case. This check is a cash refund to you. Cashing the check does not obligate you to buy any product or service, now or in the future. It is the same as cash. If you do not cash the check within 180 days of the date on the check, the check will expire and will no longer be valid.
The Court approved the settlement on the assurance that every eligible class member would receive the net tax refund to which they are entitled, no matter how large or how small.
No. The sales taxes that were improperly collected from you were sent by AT&T to your state taxing authority. Class members receive their refund checks only after their taxing jurisdiction has approved and fully refunded these taxes. People who receive a check live in a jurisdiction where the taxing authority has approved and fully paid the tax refund. If you have not received a refund check, your taxing authority may be disputing the refund or may still be processing the refund request.
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