Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AT&T fined again

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...
Logo of the United States Federal Communications Commission, used on their website and some publications since the early 2000s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The FTC said on Tuesday that the second-largest U.S. cellular phone network charged its customers for "unlimited data," but nevertheless reduced their browsing speeds. In some cases, speeds dropped by close to 90 percent.
Filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California [PDF], the federal agency charged with protecting consumer's rights said the company had performed a "deceptive failure" to disclose its mobile throttling plan.
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez summed up her sentiment in three words: "Unlimited means unlimited."
She added: "AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise."
Here's the nutshell to the FTC's complaint.
The FTC said despite "unequivocal promises" by the company to its customers that they would receive unlimited data, AT&T began in 2011 throttling data after they used just 2GB of data in a billing — which most average users can go through quite easily.
About 3.5 million individual customers may have been throttled more than two-dozen times, the agency claims.
Simply put: AT&T broke the law by changing the terms of the customers' unlimited data plans while they were still under contract. And, AT&T didn't "adequately" disclose its throttling program.
Although AT&T falls within the realm of the Federal Communications Commission's jurisdiction, FCC staff were consulted and worked closely with the FTC on bringing charges.
It's the second time this month the company has been bitten by the federal government.
Earlier in October, AT&T was forced to pay $80 million back to consumers after it billed customers for unauthorized third-party charges.
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