iPhone lawsuit claims Apple did not fully disclose that AT&T is exclusive carrier

“The ongoing pursuit of technophiles to unlock Apple’s multipurpose iPhone made a detour into court yesterday, when a man who bought three iPhones in early July filed a class action for an injunction against the company in state Supreme Court, claiming that, at the time of his purchase, Apple had not fully disclosed that the phone was impenetrable to outside service providers,” Sarah Portlock reports for The New York Sun.

“The plaintiff, Herbert Kliegerman, 68, said Apple did not disclose that iPhones would be programmed to accept service contracts exclusively from AT&T,” Portlock reports.

“As a frequent international traveler, Mr. Kliegerman’s suit claims he wanted to purchase a foreign service subscriber identity module, also known as a SIM card, that would allow him to use local cell phone providers and decrease his roaming charges overseas, but that he was informed he could not, “Portlock reports. “AT&T provides unlock codes for SIM cards for non- iPhone phones, according to his complaint.”

“The suit extends his class action to include any New York State resident who purchased an iPhone since its release, which, according to the lawsuit, may be more than 50,000 customers,” Portlock reports.

Full article here.

From our iPhone box: “Minimum new two-year wireless service plan with AT&T required to activate all iPhone features, including iPod features… Service plan with AT&T required for cellular network capabilities on expiration of initial two-year contract. Wireless service is solely provided by and is the responsibility of AT&T.”

Perhaps Apple should sue Mr. Kliegerman for not being able to read and/or making assumptions that are contradictory to what’s explicitly stated on the product’s box.

If anything, Kliegerman should be suing AT&T over disclosure, not Apple.


  1. Other phones require a two year activation, but ATT does allow them to be unlocked so they can be used when you travel. You still are obligated to the contract, and have to pay for an additional SIM when you are abroad.

    I don’t see why Apple and ATT unlocks the phone, but to use all of the features, you have to be on an ATT network.

  2. shouldn’t dude be sueing at&t? after all they are the ones that are suppose to deal with the service providing, not apple. it was even stated in the article that at&t has unlocked other phones—just not the iphone. it’s at&t’s responsibility to allow for that if they wanna allow for that, rite? i mean, it’s not like apple didn’t approach other providers b4 at&t, they were just dumb and didn’t see a reason to have an exclusive contract with ’em (ahem, verizon—guess they didn’t like that they couldn’t hack the hello outta the iphone like they do with all their other phones). it’s not like this is the 1st time at&t/cingular has had an exclusive contract to have a phone b4 everyone else anyway (the razr comes to mind). ah well, guess ppl just wanna try to make a buck anyway they can now-a-days. buncha frivolous lawsuit losers!

  3. Well, very similar wording regarding AT&T’s service exclusivity exists in fine print of any other GSM phone out there. Yet, literally EVERY other GSM phone can be unlocked; you call AT&T, they e-mail you the instructions and you unlock it. I have done this seven times before, with phones from T-Mobile, as well as Cingular. Since it is not explicitly stated anywhere on the iPhone package (or fine print), I would expect the same for the iPhone – the ability to ask and receive from AT&T instructions to remove SIM lock. I don’t want to hold onto an old GSM phone, so that I can travel overseas without incurring $2,000+ roaming charges. I don’t want to have to copy all my contacts, pictures, calendar and music to that old phone, so that I can swap my AT&T SIM card for a local card abroad. I want to be able to do with the iPhone what I was able to do with every GSM phone I ever purchased from a US carrier. This is not an unusual expectation, and is not clearly or specifically contradicted anywhere in the contract.

    I really hope this lawsuit causes some changes in AT&T policies. I doubt Apple has any great stake at this; it is an issue that mainly affects AT&T’s business. It would really be annoying to have to wait for five years, until the exclusive agreement expires, before we finally receive AT&T’s help in unlocking the devices.

  4. As I see it, AT&T/Apple selling the iPhone on a locked in basis has it’s problems, there may or may not be reasons why they shouldn’t be able to do it, but to say that it wasn’t clear is crap. It says on the box and the Ads say that it’s only on AT&T. Even if it weren’t as clear as that, what idiot buys something making a huge assumption then blames the people he purchased the product from? Oh wait.. These guys do.

  5. Actually, this guy is just a dope. His lawyer on the other hand should be disbarred for clogging our court system with a clearly frivolous suit. Just like a doctor who does a knee replacement on a patient with a normal knee just because a patient wants one should not be practicing medicine.

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