Make them pay up
Honestly, the most hated companies ever. Will anybody shed a tear for them? I won't.
The US Federal Trade Commission has begun legal action against AT&T over its unlimited data plans, claiming the telco didn't tell customers that their data services would in fact be throttled. The lawsuit claims that in 2007, AT&T started selling the iPhone with a $20 per month "unlimited" data plan. But by 2011, the demands …
They won't be forced to pay up. They will get a slap on the wrist. Whoever came up with the idea will get a bonus since it saved them $100M but only cost them $5M in fines. I bet they even have the money for the 'fine' in escrow.
What really needs to happen is for these companies to be fined a significant portion of their revenue and not the pocket change that falls down the back of the sofa.
"I want convictions."
How about the death penalty? Revoke their corporate charter.
The only way a fine will work is if it is charged directly to the individual directors and managers - they would take notice if it came from their pockets. Also anyone being fined should not be able to hold a directorship or management position in that or a similar company for 10 years.
is why any telco can call their data plan 'unlimited' when it has limitations. I ditched O2 because their 'unlimited' data plan didn't allow tethering (that's a limitation, by the way) and they re-compressed images to the point of being unable to tell what the picture used to be. I'm pretty sure they had an (un)fair use policy, as well. All this bullshit can be called 'unlimited', but redbull get sued for jokingly suggesting that their fizzy drink gives you wings.
Well, I think the term limited has specific context when discussing plans. Unlimited is supposed to refer to the amount of data transferred. No one says you'll have unlimited speed, unlimited use of your choosing, unlimited child porn, etc, etc. Now, that being said, I disagree with throttling users just because they are "unlimited," and I agree that AT&T should have notified customers, but I totally disagree with your assertions that unlimited means you can do whatever the hell you want on it. Unlimited is proposed vs a capped data transfer limit, so inherently, the unlimited means unlimited data, and nothing else.
When a company terms their data plan unlimited that should really mean that they impose no limits upon it.
You can use it for whatever you want, in however large quantities you want. Child porn is irrelevant, as that's not the company putting limits on your but the law, society, and basic modern human decency.
A limit on speed is also unavoidable with current technology. But these 'unlimited' data plans don't even amount to unlimited data transferred. If you can transfer 3gb of data but then your connection slows down enough to make you miss the 14.4k modem you were rocking back when the non-tech-savy world discovered the internet then it's functionally no different from a limited 3gb plan except that instead of paying $10 for another gb you just can't use your data at all till the end of the cycle.
This lawsuit will be completely irrelevant to everyone except lawyers. They will get a slap on the wrist and lawyers will take all the 'refunds'.
Last year I received a 'payment' from a class action against ATT for 12c... Yep... $0.12 !!
It cost more to send the check ($0.35) !!
ATT don't care. Worst customer service I have EVER encountered and they are flat out liars.
The problem I saw here... AT&T kept vaguely saying "top 5%", without giving any idea what the figure was. Per companies who DID give figures, it is HIGHLY unlikely that the 95th percentile usage was actually 2GB, it would have been a bit higher than that. Also, changing a plan from "unlimited" to "unlimited with a throttle" is a material change to the contract and should have allowed people to get out of the plan without ETF if they had wanted to. I don't think very many people tried, but those who tried and were charged an ETF should get it refunded. This was a case where when they started signing up these iphones, they got them on a 2-year contract and changed their terms like a month or two into it.
Regarding the meaning of "unlimited" -- to me, unlimited does mean unlimited. BUT, I do think it's reasonable to be able to have "truly unlimited" or "unlimited" (which straight up has to be unlimited), and have "unlimited, throttled to x kbps at y usage" (or whatever description -- before VZW apparently backed out, they were going to put heavier users with unlimited data in a lower QoS tier -- they could get full speed most of the time, but would be in the slow lane on cell sites busy enough that their use was actually slowing down other users.) My concern if carriers aren't allowed to do this is that (at least here in the US) we'd end up with no choices at all where one doesn't have to buy a high-priced per-GB plan and then worry about overages.
> Regarding the meaning of "unlimited" -- to me, unlimited does mean unlimited. BUT, I do think it's reasonable to be able to have "truly unlimited" or "unlimited" (which straight up has to be unlimited), and have "unlimited, throttled to x kbps at y usage"
I have a recording somewhere of a go-around I had with a BT sales twat some years back.
"Are there any caps on the Unlimited account?"
"What happens at 10GB?"
"We charge XYZ/Gb over 10GB"
"How is this an Unlimited account?"
"We offer unlimited speed up to 10GB of data"
"Not unlimited data?"
"We don't shut your account down at 10GB, you can keep downloading"
"But if I exceed the data limit on an unlimited account, you'll charge extra?"
"But you advertise the unlimited account as having no extra fees"
"I see. That means if I switch from my current ISP to you, I'll end up paying 5-6 times as much"
"Yes, but it's an unlimited account"
"So is the account I already have, yours isn't."
"Yes it is"
"In which universe might that be?"
At that point the rep got fairly abusive.
We had a similar experience, BT rang my girlfirend and offered her an "unlimited" account for £7.50 a month rising to £15 a month after 3 months, she passed the phone to me, I made the sales guy repeat to me that it was an unlimited account and so she agreed and signed up. Unfortunately, my girlfriend was one of those people who never looked at her bank statements so for nearly 10 months didn't realise BT were taking between £100-£150 a MONTH for our internet usage (she definitely looks at her statements regularly now!). Yes it's dumbassery for not checking your statement, but I made the guy confirm it was an unlimited account and then we were put on a 10Gb account and charged per Mb over the top, and once we realised what was happening BT switched her to a different account but refused any idea of refunding her any of the over £1k they had overcharged her through the year. Safe to say we will never go with BT again.
"I made the sales guy repeat to me that it was an unlimited account and so she agreed and signed up."
This is why you should always record these calls.
If you had a recording they'd not only have to refund the overcharge but probably face penalties too. It's a slamdunk in a court case as the sales claim trumps any fine print they may mail out later
BT and a few others have found this out repeatedly. Small claims judges aren't fools and they know about misleading sales pitches.
The FCC should ban claims of "unlimited" unless the connection is guaranteed to run at advertised speed all the time. To my knowledge, zero of the major telcos offer that. They either throttle or they deliver a typical performance that is a tiny fraction of the advertised potential.
There's nothing wrong with thottling the customer if they go over a limit. My ISP throttles at 500GB, which is reasonable. But they told me (prominently) before I signed up, and tell me again when I get to 80% and again at 100% of that.
But only in Amorica would a company get away with throttling it's customers while simultaneously calling them unlimitted.
Of course not, if you tell the customer that they are signing up for limited contract and that such is the limit.
If you advertising an unlimited contract, then there is no limit to apply and any limit whatsoever makes the contract a lie.
This nonsense has been going on for long enough. Fines are not the answer, so kneecapping it should be.
The FCC should ban claims of "unlimited" unless the connection is guaranteed to run at advertised speed all the time. To my knowledge, zero of the major telcos offer that.
I've only ever seen one consumer American ISP that advertised the speed they could maintain, mobile or landline. The cable/DSL/fiber providers all advertise their maximum speed (the one you could reasonably expect to get only if all their other subscribers were dead and their network completely empty). The one exception advertised their minimum. I was with them briefly and never got less than double their advertised speed, which was, sadly, still a paltry 3mb downstream bandwidth. Now I'm paying for a "20mb" connection that never actually gets above 12. That's pretty much the norm here unless you upgrade to a business account.
We have been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning. We informed all ... customers via bill notices and a national press release ... and before any customer is affected, they are also notified by text message."
They should be fined for making me laugh hard enough to hurt! I stopped using AT&T years ago because they jacked their rates up with no notice. We found out that they had when we started comparing the current month's bill with the last and found an extra line item. We asked what it was for and were told pretty much we were going to be charged more because they could. They haven't changed and never will. Why should they when predatory practices are profitable? Other service providers have their foibles, true, but the Death Star Corps seem to really work at being bad.
Most Comcast U.S. subscribers do not even know that much of the legitimate international e-mail sent to U.S. subscribers is being illegally blocked. This applies to individuals as well as businesses and has been documented by numerous sources. IMO Comcast needs to stop the illegal blocking and pay a serious fine for their illegal business practices.
"Most Comcast U.S. subscribers do not even know that much of the legitimate international e-mail sent to U.S. subscribers is being illegally blocked. "
Is that you, Sanford Wallace?
There's no such thing as "illegal" mail blocking.
Contractual breaches perhaps, but that's entirely down to what's in the contract.
In any case, ESPs/ISPs are protected by the safe harbour provisions of the antispam laws.
"In some cases, customers had their feeds throttled by speeds of up to 90 per cent or more, making features like web browsing and content streaming virtually inoperable."
I found content streaming virtually inoperable on AT&T's network without them throttling me. Hence why I'm no longer on AT&T's network.