AT&T Mobility and the FTC have settled a case charging that the company misled millions of its smartphone customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while reducing their data speeds. FTC filed the case in 2014, alleged that AT&T failed to adequately disclose to its unlimited data plan customers that, if they reach a certain amount of data use in a given billing cycle, AT&T would reduce—or “throttle”—their data speeds after they used a certain amount of data, making it difficult to use certain apps.
Under the settlement, AT&T cannot make any representation about the speed or amount of its mobile data, including that it is “unlimited,” without a prominent disclosure of any material restrictions. In addition, AT&T will pay $60 million into a fund to provide partial refunds to both current and former customers who had 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.
The FTC's press release, with links ot the complaint and settlement, is here.