Restitution for Data Throttling
The Federal Trade Commission filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Mobility, LLC, charging the company for misleading millions of its smartphone customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans and then reducing their data speeds, in some cases by nearly 90%. The Federal Trade Commission is is seeking millions of dollars in reimbursements for customers who were promised unlimited data plans by AT&T, then have their mobile network speeds slowed in a practice known as data throttling.
The federal complaint filed in San Francisco, in October of 2011, AT&T began reducing speeds for customers who went above amount of monthly data usage, determined by AT&T. Customers could see their network speeds decrease for the rest of the billing cycle, even though there was actually not any congestion on the network at the time.
In its complaint, the FTC alleges that AT&T began slowing speeds for its unlimited data plan in 2011, and that the company received a excessive amount of customer complaints accusing AT&T of “failing to live up to its end of their bargain because its throttling program imposes a limitation on their unlimited data plan."
AT&T is still using the practice today.
“The FTC’s allegations are baseless and have nothing to do with the substance of our network management program. It’s baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts," the company said.
Public Knowledge, a consumer group, sent letters to four major providers, including AT&T, in August saying that the companies aren't clear about when throttling will kick in. Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T should also publish information about congestion on their networks because that's why carriers say they throttle customers with unlimited data, according to Public Knowledge.
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