A complaint has been filed in a federal court in California alleging that AT&T regularly and purposely overcharges iPhone and iPad customers on capped data plans by inflating the amount of data they download to their devices. The complainant, Patrick Hendricks, says that AT&T adds “phantom traffic” to its invoices in order to overcharge users. “AT&T’s billing system for iPhone and iPad data transactions is like a rigged gas pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car’s tank,” the complaint alleges. Hendricks’ lawyers hired a consulting firm to investigate the matter, and it apparently determined that AT&T regularly balloons data activity by between 7% and 14% — adding that the carrier sometimes overstates data totals by as much as 300%. AT&T said it would fight the lawsuit “vigorously” in a statement to Computerworld.

[Via 9 to 5 Mac]

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Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.