AT&T cannot force customers to use arbitration to resolve contract disputes and therefore customer Michael McKee can seek a class-action lawsuit, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
“It’s an extremely important case not only for consumers in Washington but throughout the country,” McKee’s attorney Paul Bland said.
McKee filed his suit in 2003 because of complaints about municipal surcharges and unfair late payment fees. AT&T cited an arbitration clause in its contracts. McKee’s dispute applied to long-distance services, however, the mobile phone services also include the arbitration clauses.
The unanimous court decision called AT&T’s clause “substantively unconscionable and therefore unenforceable,” according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report.