The Federal Trade Commission has revealed the details of its settlement with AT&T. The FTC says that AT&T will pay out $60 million to current and former subscribers who were affected by the carrier’s misleading “unlimited data” promises.
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AT&T and the FTC first reached their settlement back in August, but details of the deal have only been announced today. The FTC initially sued AT&T in 2014 over its deceptive unlimited data claims, saying that the carrier failed to inform customers that they would face throttling after a certain amount of data use.
“AT&T promised unlimited data—without qualification—and failed to deliver on that promise,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “While it seems obvious, it bears repeating that Internet providers must tell people about any restrictions on the speed or amount of data promised.”
For its part, AT&T argued that only a small number of customers were affected by throttling and that those users were notified via text message when the throttling kicked in. The carrier accused the FTC of making “baseless and baffling” claims.
Today’s announcement from the FTC details that AT&T will deposit $60 million into a fund that will provide “partial refunds to both current and former customers” affected by the unlimited data claims. This includes those who had originally signed up for unlimited plans prior to 2011 but had their data access throttled.
The FTC says that current AT&T customers will receive a bill credit, while former customers will receive a check:
The $60 million paid by AT&T as part of the settlement will be deposited into a fund that the company will use to provide partial refunds to both current and former customers who had originally signed up for unlimited plans prior to 2011 but were throttled by AT&T. Affected consumers will not be required to submit a claim for the refunds. Current AT&T customers will automatically receive a credit to their bills while former customers will receive checks for the refund amount they are owed.
This means that if you were an early iPhone user on AT&T, and had unlimited data, you might be getting a refund from the carrier, though specific amounts are unclear. Read the FTC’s full announcement here.
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