A man is suing Google over being charged for Wi-Fi usage by its Project Fi service, having filed for litigation with San Jose-based U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday. The lawsuit that seeks class-action status alleges one Gordon Beecher was billed for all data used by his mobile device instead of just the cellular bandwidth he used. The plaintiff from Colorado accused the company of falsely representing its offering, convincing him to sign up for a Project Fi subscription last August under false pretenses. Shortly after doing so, Mr. Beecher claims he started receiving inaccurate data usage statistics that compiled all Internet data used by his device over a given period, including one unrelated to Project Fi. The plaintiff claims he used between 4GB and 14GB of Wi-Fi data every month since canceling the service, yet was charged a fixed $10 fee for every gigabyte, resulting in more than $200 in overcharges for the first three months.
The lawsuit alleges Google repeatedly failed to redress the situation after multiple phone inquiries made in late summer and fall, yet its representatives acknowledged that the issue exists and has previously been reported by multiple other users. Mr. Beecher accused Google of not revealing the existence of the billing system's bug, forcing customers to inspect their actual mobile data usage with "technical features" of their smartphones' operating systems — Android, in his case — in order to realize they're overpaying for the service. Besides Google's acknowledgments, the complaint cites various posts on the Project Fi Help Forum and Reddit as proof that more users were heavily overcharged by Google's subsidiary. Ultimately, the plaintiff charged the Alphabet-owned company with false advertising and unfair business practices, seeking damages and a trial by jury.
The competent court has yet to respond to the filing but is likely to approve an individual lawsuit even if it doesn't deem it worthy of a class-action status. The scope of the issues alleged by the plaintiff remains unclear, as does the cause of the billing system bug. Project Fi is regularly priced at $20 per month and $10 per every additional gigabyte of mobile data, with one of its main selling points being the ability to carry unused data over to the following month. The service is powered by the infrastructure owned by the four national carriers in the United States with whom Google shares its revenue.