In October, several news outlets reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against phone giant, AT&T for misleading their customers on “unlimited” data plans.
CNN money reported that the FCC said “AT&T ‘failed to adequately disclose’ the fact that when unlimited customers reached a certain data limit in a billing cycle, it reduced their connection speeds by a much as 90%.”
The Washington Post reported that this is the most aggressive legal action since FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez took office a year ago.
“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise. The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited,” FTC Chairwoman Ramirez said in a prepared statement.
The FTC complaint stated that AT&T, in their marketing materials, emphasized that their “unlimited” amount of data would be available to those customers who signed up for the “unlimited” data plan.
AT&T violated the FTC Act when existing customers with unlimited data plans were grandfathered in but changed the terms and conditions of those customers still under contract and failed “to adequately disclose” the throttling program to existing customers who renewed their unlimited data plans.
AT&T immediately released a statement denying the accusations stating:
“We have been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning. We informed all unlimited data-plan customers via bill notices and a national press release that resulted in nearly 2,000 news stories, well before the program was implemented. In addition, this program has affected only about 3% of our customers, and before any customer is affected, they are also notified by text message.”
In the statement released, AT&T included a photo of the notification that was sent to consumers on their monthly bill as well as a screenshot of their data usage support screen.
Do you think that AT&T’s communication tactics regarding the change in data plan usage was sufficient? Could their communications have been improved or different?