AT&T Gets a Wrist Slap For Lying About Its ‘Unlimited’ Data Plans – The US Government has spent a decade feebly trying to stop carriers from lying about “unlimited” data plans. It’s not working.

24 comments

  1. It’s not working because it’s a cost of doing business.

    Now..make it 10% of gross revenue when there’s a complaint. No company likes to lose 10% of their gross revenue. Things will only change then.

  2. WebMaka

    |Author

    The only way you get the attention of a megacorp is by making statutory fines and penalties be a percentage of quarterly, or better, *annual* earnings. Anything less isn’t likely to effect change, and tiny fines are a laugh. Fining AT&T 20 million dollars is nothing and they’ll happily pay it and move on without blinking, but fining AT&T 20% of their earnings for 2018 (or, roughly *40 billion* dollars) would get *everyone*’s attentions.

  3. sonofsmog

    |Author

    I like Karl Bode (of DSLReports), but I don’t agree that the fine was a wrist slap. That’s neither here nor there, though.

    Presently, everyone who signs up for a *unlimited* data plan is well aware of the restrictions. In this case AT&T did not disclose that it planned to throttle customers who exceeded a certain amount of data. I have had “unlimited” data with Verizon for years now one of the older, but not the oldest unlimited plan, and I am well aware of it’s limitations. The 22 GB cap is displayed prominently on my account page whenever I login.

    Here is a better report:

    >In most cases, “unlimited” plans come with a finite amount of high-speed 4G or LTE data. Once that data is used, the provider usually reserves the right to throttle, or reduce, a phone’s data speed to much slower 3G levels, especially when the phone is connected to a congested tower.

    >In the case of AT&T, however, they were accused of not disclosing that there were any restrictions on the plans in question. They also started throttling customers’ speed after only a small amount of data had been used, and often throttled them to the point that even basic web browsing was nearly impossible.

    >“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.”

    >“The FTC alleged that, despite AT&T’s unequivocal promises of unlimited data, it began throttling data speeds in 2011 for its unlimited data plan customers after they used as little as 2 gigabytes of data in a billing period. AT&T’s alleged practices affected more than 3.5 million customers as of October 2014, according to the FTC complaint.”

    >As part of the settlement, AT&T is prohibited from advertising speed or unlimited data unless it prominently discloses any restrictions. The FTC specifically stated that “the disclosures need to be prominent, not buried in fine print or hidden behind hyperlinks.”

    https://www.webpronews.com/att-settles-throttling-case/

  4. DoomsdayGSD27

    |Author

    They definitely need to fix this. Water is arguably a much more valuable resource than internet data/bandwidth. Imagine this: Your apartment says you pay a flat fee for your water every month, regardless of how much you use. But after, say 100 gallons, they slow your water supply to a slow trickle. “But it’s unlimited! We haven’t prevented you from getting as much water as you want/need!” How are you supposed to shower or fill a bathtub up with a trickle of water? How long would it take to flush a toilet? Internet is considered a utility like water/electricity/etc. I don’t know the ins and outs of how much more internet traffic actually costs them, but calling it unlimited is a straight up lie of the definition.

  5. deolmo312

    |Author

    Technically it’s “unlimited” they just slow down speeds when you go past 20gb. You still have the data and you don’t get charged overages but it’s just stupid. And I believe every carrier is the same.

  6. wags83

    |Author

    The last time I was in a Verizon store they had 3 “unlimited” plans. If it’s unlimited, why the **** do you need 3 different versions? It’s so obviously BS, but if they aren’t penalized for it, then why stop?

  7. CavGhost

    |Author

    To be fair, the US government has spent over a decade feebly trying to stop a lot of things. Perhaps they could declare war on Data Plans. The war on drugs, poverty, and terrorism are going great.

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