AT&T needs to refund customers $60 million for lying about “unlimited data”
To be eligible for a refund, your plan must be from before 2011.
AT&T promised its over 150 million customers that they offer unlimited data as part of their smartphone plans. Apparently, that is not the case as it is throttled after hitting arbitrary limits. As a result of this false advertising, the telecom giant is refunding $60M to affected customers.
For those unfamiliar with what throttling means, its when you can still connect to mobile data, but the speed will just crawl. With the advertised unlimited data, AT&T customers are supposed to have the same high-speed at all times. But they don’t. Not good.
And speaking of things that are also not good, this situation stems from a half-decade long battle between AT&T and the Federal Trade Commission.
AT&T stretched out a court battle with the FTC and hurt their customers in the process
Andrew Smith, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, weighed in on the issue with some choice words for AT&T.
AT&T promised unlimited data—without qualification—and failed to deliver on that promise. While it seems obvious, it bears repeating that Internet providers must tell people about any restrictions on the speed or amount of data promised.
Long story short, AT&T tried to steer clear of regulations against throttling data. That ended last year after the commission successfully won a court case that started back in 2014.
As a result of the court case, AT&T will have to start issuing refunds within 90 days, if there is any money left over after the payouts, it will all go to the FTC. The company will still have to identify every account that was affected in this within 30 days, per court order. Accounts that are eligible for refunds must have been opened before 2011 and were signed up for an unlimited data plan.
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