Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. Why is this a class action?
  3. Why is there a Settlement?
  4. How do I know if I am a member of the Settlement Class?

  5. The Settlement benefits (what you get from it)

  6. What does the Settlement provide?
  7. What are "unauthorized Third-Party Charges"?
  8. How much will my payment be?

  9. What Is a Billing Summary

  10. What is a Billing Summary?

  11. How you get a payment (submitting a Claim Form)

  12. How can I get a payment?
  13. What happens if my claim is challenged?
  14. How do I respond to the challenge?
  15. What happens if I do nothing after receiving the Notice of Challenge?
  16. If I respond to the challenge will that slow down payment of my claim?
  17. Do I have a lawyer in this challenge and rebuttal process?
  18. What happens after I submit the Reponse to Challenge Form?
  19. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Class?

  20. Excluding Yourself From The Settlement

  21. How could I have opted out of the Settlement?
  22. If I excluded myself, can I get money from the Settlement?

  23. The lawyers representing you

  24. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
  25. How will Class Counsel and the Named Plaintiffs be paid?

  26. Commenting on (including objecting to) the Settlement

  27. How could I have told the Court that I like or don't like the Settlement?
  28. What's the difference between objecting and opting out?

  29. The Court's Final Approval Hearing

  30. When and where did the court decide whether to give final approval to the Settlement?
  31. Did I have to come to the hearing?

  32. What happens if you do nothing

  33. What happens if I do nothing at all?

  34. How to get more information

  35. Are there more details about the Settlement?



Basic Information

The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The people who sued are called Plaintiffs, and the companies they sued (AT&T, Inc., Pacific Bell Telephone Company, dba AT&T California, AT&T Services, Inc., AT&T Operations, Inc. and as Doe Defendants Illinois Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Illinois; Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Inc., d/b/a AT&T Indiana; Michigan Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Michigan; The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Ohio; Wisconsin Bell, Inc., d/b/a AT&T Wisconsin; Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Arkansas, AT&T Kansas, AT&T Missouri, AT&T Oklahoma and AT&T Texas; Nevada Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Nevada; The Southern New England Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Connecticut; and BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., d/b/a AT&T Alabama, AT&T Florida, AT&T Georgia, AT&T Kentucky, AT&T Louisiana, AT&T Mississippi, AT&T North Carolina, AT&T South Carolina, and AT&T Tennessee) are called the "Defendants" or "AT&T." The case is known as Nwabueze v. AT&T, Case No. CV 09-1529 Sl

1. What is this lawsuit about?

The lawsuit claims that AT&T placed charges from third-party companies on its bills and collected money for those charges, even though the customers had not knowingly authorized the charges. The lawsuit asks the Court to require AT&T to pay customers the money it collected for all Third-Party Charges that the customers did not authorize. AT&T denies it did anything wrong or that it has any liability for Third-Party Charges. For more information about the Settlement click on the 'Important Documents' tab above.

How do I know if I paid for Third-Party Charges I did not authorize? The purpose of this lawsuit is to reimburse all present and former AT&T customers for all unauthorized charges that they may have paid that have not previously been reimbursed. You may have been billed for third-party charges over a period of months without having noticed it. Since you may not have retained all of your prior bills or otherwise have access to them, as part of the Settlement, if you request, AT&T will provide you, free of charge, a Billing Summary of all of the Third-Party Charges that you were billed from January 1, 2005 through January 14, 2013 as identified from a search of reasonably available AT&T billing information. You can review this information to determine if any of these charges were unauthorized and use the Billing Summary to file a Claim. Under the terms of the Settlement all Billing Summary Requests must have been submitted no later than December 2, 2013. For further information about the Billing Summary and how to use it please read the section below titled What Is a Billing Summary.

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2. Why is this a class action?

In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case Joy Nwabueze and Amelia Terry), sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All the people with similar claims are Settlement Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class. For purposes of Settlement only, the parties have agreed, and the Court has determined, that the case shall proceed as a class action.

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3. Why is there a Settlement?

The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement which the Court approved and brings the litigation to an end. That way, Plaintiffs and Defendant avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of moving forward in litigation to trial and possible appeals, and the people affected will get compensation. The Class Representatives and the attorneys for the Settlement Class think that the Settlement is best for all Class Members, as do the Mediators who facilitated this Settlement over a matter of many months.

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4. How do I know if I am a member of the Settlement Class?

To see if you are eligible to receive money from this Settlement, you first have to determine if you are a Settlement Class Member. The Court decided that everyone who fits this description is a Settlement Class Member, subject to further consideration at the Final Approval Hearing: All current and former AT&T ILEC landline telephone customers who between January 1, 2005 to January 14, 2013 were billed for Third-Party Charges submitted to AT&T through a Clearinghouse, also known as a billing aggregator, such as Billing Concepts Inc. a/k/a Billing Services Group Clearing Solutions or BSG d/b/a USBI and ZPDI, ACI Billing Services Inc. d/b/a OAN, Enhanced Services Billing, Inc. d/b/a ESBI, and HBS Billing Services Company, The Billing Resource d/b/a The Billing Resource or Integretel, ILD Teleservices, Inc., Transaction Clearing, LLC, PaymentOne Corp., d/b/a PaymentOne or eBillit, and eTelcharge.com, Inc. [AT&T ILEC means an AT&T-affiliated incumbent local exchange carrier, such as Pacific Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T California, Illinois Bell Telephone Company, d/b/a AT&T Illinois, etc.]

You are not in the Settlement Class if:

  1. you are a judicial officer to whom the Action is assigned; or
  2. you are the U.S. government or any State government or instrumentality thereof.

If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can ask for free help. You can email the Settlement Administrator at info@ATTthirdpartybillingsettlement.com, write to the Settlement Administrator at Nwabueze v. AT&T, Inc. c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35045, Seattle, WA 98124 or you can contact any of the Class Counsel identified in Question 19 below.

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The Settlement benefits (what you get from it)

5. What does the Settlement provide?

The Settlement provides the following to Class Members: (1) payments of money to Class Members who are qualified to receive a payment and who submit valid a Claim Form (called "monetary relief'), and (2) a process for obtaining information about Third-Party Charges that present and former customers were billed to assist in filing a Claim.

  1. Monetary relief: AT&T has agreed to pay Class Members who timely submit a properly completed Claim Form approved by the Settlement Administrator will receive the full amount (100%) of Third-Party Charges the Class Member asserts were not authorized to the extent that such payments have not previously been reimbursed.
  2. Billing Summary (Summary of Third Party Charges): As part of the Settlement, if you request, AT&T will provide you, free of charge, a Billing Summary of all of the Third-Party Charges that you were billed from January 1, 2005 through January 14, 2013 as identified from a search of reasonably available AT&T billing information. You can review this information to determine if any of these charges were unauthorized and use the Billing Summary to file a Claim. Under the terms of the Settlement all Billing Summary Requests must have been submitted no later than December 2, 2013. For further information about the Billing Summary and how to use it please read the section below titled What Is a Billing Summary.

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6. What are "unauthorized Third-Party Charges"?

Third-Party Charges are charges that customers could authorize be billed on your AT&T telephone bill for products or services that are provided by third-party companies (i.e., companies not affiliated with AT&T). Hundreds of companies have billed such charges on AT&T customers' telephone bills. Examples of the types of products and services are; voicemail, email, fax, web page services (design, hosting or marketing), diet plans, identity protection, yellow page services, and others. To see a non-exhaustive list of Third Parties who may have placed such charges click on the 'Important Documents' tab above.

Unauthorized Third-Party Charges are Third-Party Charges placed on a customer's AT&T landline phone bill without the customer's knowing authorization. The practice of including unauthorized charges on bills is commonly called "cramming."

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7. How much will my payment be?

Subject to review and approval by the Settlement Administrator, each Class Member who submits a timely and valid Claim Form will receive a payment in the full amount of all Third-Party Charges the Class Member claims were not authorized.

Class Counsel contends that some claims will be worth hundreds of dollars or more.

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What Is a Billing Summary

8. What is a Billing Summary?

In order to assist Settlement Class Members in completing a Claim Form under the Settlement, they may request, at no cost, a Billing Summary from AT&T setting forth each Third-Party Charge (and credit, if any) that was placed on their AT&T bill through a Clearinghouse from January 1, 2005 through January 14, 2013, as identified from a search of reasonably available AT&T billing information. Class members can review this information to determine if any of the charges were unauthorized and use the summary to support their claim for a Settlement payment. In order to submit a claim for a Settlement payment class members must either submit a copy of the free Billing Summary that AT&T will provide them as part of the Settlement and identify on that summary any charges that are claimed to be unauthorized or provide copies of their AT&T landline telephone bills and identify on those bills the Third-Party Charge(s) they claim were not authorized. All Billing Summary Requests must have been submitted no later than December 2, 2013.

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How you get a payment (submitting a Claim Form)

9. How can I get a payment?

To qualify for payment, you must have submitted a Claim Form.

If you properly and timely submitted a Claim Form that is approved by the Settlement Administrator, you will automatically be sent your Settlement payment. If you are a current AT&T customer at the time payments are processed, AT&T has the option to provide a credit on your AT&T bill. Otherwise, you will receive a check in the mail.

To be on time, your Claim Form must have been received (by online submission, email, or other means) or postmarked no later than December 2, 2013 or 30 days after you received a Billing Summary in response to a timely request, whichever was later.

Further details regarding the Claim Form review process can be found at Section D of the Settlement Agreement, available on this website under the 'Important Documents' tab.

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10. What happens if my claim is challenged?

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, AT&T and the Clearinghouses have the right to challenge any claim pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. For a full explanation of the challenge process in this Settlement, please click on the 'Important Documents' tab above.

If your claim is challenged you will be sent a Notice of Challenge to Claim and Opportunity to Respond by the Settlement Administrator. Attached to the letter will be a copy of the challenges filed to your claim. Also attached will be information from the Claim Form you submitted, as well as the Billing Summary that you received. Evidence submitted in support of the challenges may also be attached. Additional supporting evidence (specifically, billing and usage computer data) may also be obtained from the Settlement Administrator by sending an email to info@ATTthirdpartybillingsettlement.com or by calling 1 (866) 242-0603.

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11. How do I respond to the challenge?

You have a right to respond to the challenges and may rebut with evidence and/or sworn testimony. If you do not submit a response to the challenges, the challenge will be upheld and any challenged portion of the claim will be disallowed. If you would like to submit a response to rebut the challenges, you should fully complete the Response to Challenge Form which will be sent to you together with the Notice of Challenge to Claim and Opportunity to Respond and return it to the Settlement Administrator by mail or by email at info@ATTthirdpartybillingsettlement.com within 60 days of the date of the Notice. Remember, if you do not submit a response to the challenges the challenge will be upheld.

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12. What happens if I do nothing after receiving the Notice of Challenge?

If you do not submit a response to the challenges the challenge will be upheld. If the challenge is upheld, your claim will be reduced by the amount of the challenge. Class Counsel strongly urges you to submit a response if you feel the challenge is wrong, and will assist you for free if you need assistance in making a response.

Please note that if only part of your claim was challenged, the unchallenged portion of your claim will be paid whether or not you submit a response to the challenged portion(s) of your claim. You will not be placing the unchallenged part of your claim in any jeopardy by submitting a response to the challenges.

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13. If I respond to the challenge will that slow down payment of my claim?

No, filing a response to a challenge will not slow down payment of your claim, and not filing a response to a challenge will not speed up payment of your claim. The unchallenged portion of your claim will not be paid any sooner by saying you will accept the unchallenged portion(s) of your claim. If you feel that the challenge made to your claim is not correct, you should file a response. Challenged claims will not be paid until all of the challenges in the challenge and rebuttal process are resolved.

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14. Do I have a lawyer in this challenge and rebuttal process?

Class Counsel will represent you in the challenge and rebuttal process unless you affirmatively refuse such representation or fail to cooperate with Class Counsel. If you would like the assistance of Class Counsel in responding to the challenge(s), you must contact Class Counsel at 1 (888) 978-7491, or by email at  attchallenges@jacobskolton.com or by mail at 55 West Monroe Street, Suite 2970, Chicago, Illinois 60603. For Class Counsel’s full contact information click here.

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15. What happens after I submit the Response to Challenge Form?

If you do submit a response, the Settlement Administrator will decide whether to accept or reject the challenges in whole or in part, and the Settlement Administrator’s decision will be final and non-appealable by either side. You can check on the status and schedule for resolution of the challenged claims and payment of challenged claims by clicking on the ‘Challenge Claims Status Information’ tab above.

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16. What am I giving up to get a payment or stay in the Class?

Unless you excluded yourself, you will stay in the Settlement Class, and that means that you can't sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against AT&T or other released parties about the issues in this case, as defined in the Settlement Agreement. It also means that the terms of the Settlement Agreement and all of the Court's orders will apply to you and legally bind you. Click on the 'Important Documents' tab to see the exact terms of the Release in this case.

There are various cases pending around the country that raise claims relating to unauthorized charges on AT & T bills that are covered by the Release in this case, including but not limited to the following cases:

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Excluding yourself from the Settlement

If you didn't want a payment from this Settlement, but you wanted to keep your right to sue or continue to sue AT&T or other released parties on your own, about the issues in this case, then you must have taken steps to exclude yourself from this case. (See Section 25 ("What happens if I do nothing at all?"), below.) If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately, because you may have had to exclude yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit. This is called excluding yourself from – or opting out of – the Settlement Class.

17. How could I have opted out of the Settlement?

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must have sent a letter saying that you want to be excluded from Nwabueze v. AT&T, Inc. This is called an "Opt-Out Request." You must have included your name, current address, current telephone number, and signature, as well as the AT&T telephone number(s) for which you want to preserve your right to sue. To be valid, your Opt Out Request must have been received by the Settlement Administrator or postmarked by September 2, 2013. It must have been sent to the Settlement Administrator at: Nwabueze v. AT&T, Inc., c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35045, Seattle, WA 98124. You could not opt out by phone. The deadline to request exclusion from the Settlement has now passed.

If you opted out, you will not get any Settlement payment, and you cannot object to the Settlement. But you will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit, and you may be able to sue (or continue to sue) AT&T or the released parties in the future, subject to questions about what courts call statutes of limitations (time limits within which certain claims must be made).

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18. If I excluded myself, can I get money from the Settlement?

No. If you excluded yourself, you cannot receive any payment from this Settlement. But you may sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against AT&T or other released parties.

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The lawyers representing you

19. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The Court appointed the following attorneys to represent you and the Settlement Class:

John G. Jacobs
Bryan G. Kolton
JACOBS KOLTON, CHTD.
55 West Monroe Street, Suite 2970
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Telephone: (888) 978-7491
Email: attsettlement@jacobskolton.com

David Schachman
LAW OFFICES OF DAVID SCHACHMAN, PC
55 West Monroe Street, Suite 2970
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Telephone: (888) 978-7491
Email: attsettlement@schachmanlaw.com
Jeffrey F. Keller
KELLER GROVER, LLP
1965 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94103
Telephone: (877) 452-0034
Email: ATTsettlement@kellergrover.com
Michael W. Sobol
Jahan C. Sagafi
LlEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN, LLP
275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
San Francisco, California 94111-3339
Telephone: (800) 546-4021
Web Address: www.lchb.com
Email: ATTsettlement@lchb.com
Michael A. Caddell
Cynthia B. Chapman
CADDELL & CHAPMAN
1331 Lamar, Suite 1070
Houston, TX 77010
Telephone: (855) 522-1322
Facsimile: (713) 751-0906
Email: ATTSettlement@caddellchapman.com

Together, the lawyers are called Class Counsel or Plaintiffs' Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers' work in securing the Settlement benefits for you and the other Settlement Class Members. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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20. How will Class Counsel and the Named Plaintiffs be paid?

The Court approved payment of up to $5,500,000 to Class Counsel for attorneys' fees and expenses and payment of $5,000 each to Joy Nwabueze and Amelia Terry for their services as Class Representatives. The fees will pay Class Counsel for their efforts in investigating the facts, litigating the case, negotiating the Settlement, and implementing the Settlement on behalf of the Settlement Class on a purely contingent basis. The Settlement Class will not be required to pay any portion of the fees and expenses paid to Class Counsel or incentive awards paid to the Class Representatives. AT&T will separately pay such amounts as the Court awards. In addition, AT&T will also pay the costs of providing Notice to the Settlement Class and the charges of the Settlement Administrator to administer the Settlement.

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Commenting on (including objecting to) the Settlement

You could have told the Court what you think about the Settlement.

21. How could I have told the Court that I like or don't like the Settlement?

If you are a Class Member, you could have objected to the Settlement if you didn't like any part of it. You could have given reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court would have considered your views. To object, you must have sent a letter saying that you object to the Settlement in Nwabueze v, AT&T, Inc., Case No. CV 09-1529 SI. You must have included your name, current address, current telephone number, the AT&T telephone number that made you a Class Member in this Settlement, your signature, and the reasons you objected to the Settlement (including all factual and legal support for your objection). You also had to state whether you intended to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, and, if you intended to appear through counsel, counsel's name, address, and telephone number, postmarked no later than September 2, 2013, to all of the following:

Clerk of the Court at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 16th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102

John G. Jacobs at 55 West Monroe Street, Suite 2970, Chicago, IL 60603 (Class Counsel)

Douglas R. Tribble, 501 W. Broadway, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101 (AT&T's counsel)

Settlement Administrator, Nwabueze v. AT&T, Inc., c/o GCG, P.O. Box 35045, Seattle, WA 98124

The deadline to file an objection to the Settlement has now passed.

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22. What's the difference between objecting and opting out?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don't like something about the Settlement. You could have only objected if you stayed in the Class. Excluding yourself (opting out) is telling the Court that you don't want to be part of the Class. If you excluded yourself, you have no basis to have objected because the case no longer affects you.

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The Court's Final Approval Hearing

23. When and where did the court decide whether to give final approval to the Settlement?

The Court approved the Settlement Agreement on November 27, 2013. The Court's final approval of the settlement was appealed by a single individual but that appeal has now been dismissed.

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24. Did I have to come to the hearing?

Class Counsel answered questions the Court had about the Settlement. You did not need to attend in order to have your claim paid.

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What happens if you do nothing

25. What happens if I do nothing at all?

If you do nothing, you will receive no Settlement payment. You also won't be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against AT&T about the legal issues in this case, ever again (unless you excluded yourself by following the steps in Section 17, above).

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How to get more information

26. Are there more details about the Settlement?

The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details (including the Settlement Agreement and the Complaint) are all available by clicking the 'Important Documents' tab.

Please do not call the Court to inquire about this Settlement.

By order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Settlement Administrator
Nwabueze v. AT&T, Inc.
c/o GCG
P.O. Box 35045
Seattle, WA 98124
Toll-free: 1 (866) 242-0603

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