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Class action Lawsuit against Predicto and Alltell

Class action Lawsuit against Predicto and Alltell

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Published by TechCrunch
Class action lawsuit alleging Predicto keeps billing accounts to recycled "dirty numbers"
Class action lawsuit alleging Predicto keeps billing accounts to recycled "dirty numbers"

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Published by: TechCrunch on Jan 19, 2010
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01/15/2012

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
 TONY PRATT, individually and on behalf )of a class of similarly situated individuals, )) Case No.
Plaintiff 
, ))v. ) Hon.)ALLTEL COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, a Delaware )limited liability company, and PREDICTO ) Magistrate JudgeMOBILE, LLC, a Delaware limited liability )company. ))
 
 Defendants
. )
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Tony Pratt, by his attorneys, alleges upon personal knowledge as to himself and hisown acts and experiences and upon information and belief including investigation of counsel asto all other matters, as follows:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
1.
 
Plaintiff Pratt brings this case as a class action against Alltel Communications,LLC (“Alltel”) and Predicto Mobile, LLC (“Predicto”) seeking to stop Defendants’ practice of causing cellular telephone customers to be billed for mobile content services ordered not bythem, but rather by the customer previously assigned their telephone number, and to obtainredress for all persons injured by Defendants’ conduct in this regard.2.
 
The increased use of cell phones has given rise to a new industry that provides so-called “mobile content” services such as ringtones, text alerts, jokes, news, games, and dailyhoroscopes to cell phone users’ mobile devices. Predicto and other providers of mobile contentcharge for their services and cause such charges to be placed directly on customers’ cell phoneaccounts through their wireless carriers, including Alltel. The carriers simply bill and collect1
Case 2:09-cv-13691-DPH-MAR Document 1 Filed 09/17/2009 Page 1 of 13
Courthouse News Service
 
such amounts and remit the vast majority (i.e., two thirds) of all revenue so collected to theproviders and aggregators of mobile content, including Predicto and OpenMarket.3.
 
Because Predicto and other mobile content providers are typically unable toestablish a direct billing and content delivery relationship with the Alltel and the other wirelesscarriers, they most often turn to one of a handful of companies known in the industry as“aggregators,” such as OpenMarket, that act as billing intermediaries without which the mobilecontent providers would generally be unable to provide and bill for their mobile content services.4.
 
While aggregators charge Predicto and their other content provider clients upfrontfees, each entities’ revenue is primarily generated through a “revenue share” on transactions forwhich they bill the carriers’ customers: Each time a charge is incurred in connection with analleged purchase of mobile content services, the content provider directs the aggregator to causethe charge to be billed directly on the cellular telephone bill of the carrier’s customer whocurrently owns and/or uses the telephone number claimed to be associated with that purchase.5.
 
The carrier, in this case Alltel, then bills and collects the charges from its currentcustomer, retains a minority portion of the proceeds as its “revenue share” and then remits thebalance—majority portion—to the aggregator, which retains a substantial percentage of thebalance in the form of its own “revenue share” and which then, in turn, remits the balance to itscontent provider client, here Predicto Mobile.6.
 
In a widespread industry practice little known by those outside the industry, butknown to Defendants, carriers such as Alltel routinely “recycle” so-called “dirty” telephonenumbers to their customers when they sign up for new cellular telephone service. The numbersare “recycled” in that they were previously assigned to another person or entity. The numbersare “dirty” in that Predicto and other content providers fail to remove the pre-existing billing2
Case 2:09-cv-13691-DPH-MAR Document 1 Filed 09/17/2009 Page 2 of 13
 
obligations, as required to do under their contracts with the aggregator and/or the wireless carrierpartners.7.
 
Despite its knowledge about the problem of recycled dirty numbers, Predictoignores the protocol established by wireless carriers such as Alltel to prevent this problem.Similarly, Alltel has not taken any steps to ensure that its recycled number protocols are followedand instead elects to maintain the system through which cell phone users are billed for mobilecontent services ordered not by them, but by the previous wireless subscribers formerly assignedtheir cell phone numbers.8.
 
As a result, Defendants have for years systematically, repeatedly, and withoutauthorization caused charges to be placed on the cell phone bills of thousands of consumersacross the country for content that was never authorized to be purchased by the currentsubscribers of the affected phone numbers, but rather by the previous subscribers formerlyassigned such cell phone numbers, and it has profited the most among the Defendantsenormously from its wrongful conduct, in violation of, among other prohibitions: (a) thecommon law of unjust enrichment; (b) the common law of tortious interference with a contract;(c) unfair or deceptive business acts or practices; and (d) common law breach of contract.9.
 
Plaintiff seeks, on behalf of himself and the class members, money damages,restitution, disgorgement, injunctive and declaratory relief, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
PARTIES
 10.
 
Plaintiff Tony Pratt is a resident of Michigan.11.
 
Defendant Predicto Mobile, LLC is a provider of mobile content. Predicto is aDelaware limited liability company with its headquarters and principal place of business in NewYork. Predicto does business throughout the United States, including this District.3
Case 2:09-cv-13691-DPH-MAR Document 1 Filed 09/17/2009 Page 3 of 13

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