The AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile is facing more opposition just days following Senate antitrust subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl's letter warning against the "substantial harm" that could come of the merger. Today, the New-York based law firm, Bursor & Fisher, have filed arbitration cases against the acquisition on behalf of 11 AT&T customers.
According to attorney Scott Bursor, the proposed merger can harm competition, violating the Clayton Antitrust Act. The act allows private parties who may be adversely affected to challenge the merger. This means that any AT&T customer who could suffer higher prices and inferior service as a result of the merger, has the right to sue.
But as part of AT&T's standard terms, customers are not allowed to file class-action lawsuits against the carrier. Instead, customers agree to file arbitration cases at the expense of AT&T should disputes arise. In this case, that could be advantageous. The firm has set up a website called FightTheMerger.com to inform consumers on the situation and to encourage more consumer suits seeking to block the AT&T and T-Mobile merger.
“If we bring 100 cases and we lose 99 of them we are going to win,” Bursor told AllThingsD. “We just need one arbitrator to say, ‘Wait a minute, this merger is going to hurt competition.’”
Following Senator Kohl's letter opposing the merger earlier this week, AT&T responded suggesting that there were more supporters than those opposed, citing a number of government officials and union groups as supporters. But to see what a lot of people are really thinking, take a glance at these videos.
Update: AT&T has responded to the Bursor & Fisher action against the AT&T/T-Mobile merger with the following official statement:
The claims made by the Bursor & Fisher Law Firm are completely without merit. An arbitrator has no authority to block the merger or affect the merger process in any way. Our arbitration provision allows customers to resolve their individual disputes with AT&T in a prompt and consumer-friendly manner.