AT&T and the Federal Trade Commission have reached a settlement in a legal dispute over claims that the wireless company mislead millions of customers to believe they were paying for “unlimited” data plans but still got their data speeds reduced.
What We Know:
- “AT&T promised unlimited data — without qualification — and failed to deliver on that promise,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
- According to ABC News, the FTC said the company began throttling data speeds in 2011, and that by 2014, more than 3.5 million customers had been affected. According to the complaint, data speeds were slowed up to 95%, making many applications like GPS navigation, web browsing and video streaming “practically inoperable”.
- “Even though it has been years since we applied this network management tool in the way described by the FTC, we believe this is in the best interests of consumers,” AT&T told ABC News in a statement.
- AT&T is also restricted from making any claims about its unlimited plan without prominently disclosing that it may slow down speeds.
- AT&T customers who purchased a service plan before 2011 are eligible for a partial refund. Former customers don’t need to submit a claim and will receive a check with the appropriate amount. Current customers will get a credit on their monthly bill.
The $60 million fund will be used to reimburse customers who have had their data speeds tampered with in lieu of paying for unlimited services.