AT&T to pay $60M over claims about misleading ‘unlimited’ data plans

AT&T to pay $60M over claims about misleading ‘unlimited’ data plans

"AT&T wanted the rewards without the risks, so it turned its offer of an "unlimited" data plan into a bait-and-switch scam that victimized millions of Americans".

AT&T has agreed to pay United States dollars 60 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle allegations the mobile operator misled customers over its practice of throttling speeds on unlimited data plans.

In 2014, the FTC sued AT&T for failing to adequately disclose to customers on unlimited data plans that if they used a certain amount of data in a billing cycle, AT&T would slow down-or "throttle"-their data speeds".

The No. 2 carrier acknowledged the settlement in a comment published by Reuters.

The settlement requires AT&T to deposit that $60 million into a fund that will be used to provide "partial refunds" to customers who signed up for unlimited data plans before the year 2011 (when the company's throttling policy first went into effect).

More news: Target Launches HoliDeals and Unveils Black Friday 2019 Ad
More news: The story behind Billie Eilish's new mullet haircut is wild
More news: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer concerned over Daniel James fatigue at Manchester United

In statements and interviews about the litigation, AT&T officials said it notified customers in text messages and emails when they hit data limits to warn them about slower speeds. The FTC says the disclosure about unrestricted information and the speeds desires to be well known and not buried in good print or hidden driving hyperlinks. He also pointed out that AT&T, which had exclusivity on the Apple iPhone in the US from 2007-2010, started offering an unlimited data plan for $30 per month in 2008 when the iPhone 3G was launched.

Because the complaint was so obviously true, AT&T attempted to thwart it via process, claiming that the net neutrality rules adopted in 2015 moved the authority to regulate mobile carriers from the FTC to the FCC, retroactively mooting the case. "While it seems obvious, it bears repeating that Internet providers must tell people about any restrictions on the speed or amount of data promised", he said in a statement.

Andrew Smith, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said AT&T made promises it did not keep. The company abandoned the plan in October 2014.

"The company could have upheld its obligations to its customers by making the right infrastructure investments", Chopra continued.

Unfortunately those customers will remain fleeced, as there are some 3.5 million of them and only $60 million to distribute. This settles a case filed five years ago by the FTC against the company and will see the settlement paid out to the affected customers.

Related Articles