AT&T dodges class action bullet, finds FCC, FTC waiting

Written by on March 18, 2016 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

AT&TCustomers who planned to sue AT&T will not be able to pursue a class action on unlimited data against the company. Judge Edward Chen of US District Court in Northern California sided with AT&T and agreed to individual customer arbitration for each complaint. AT&Ts original contract states specifically the disputes with AT&T need arbitration on an individual basis but the customers wanted to have a different court to deal with.

While the carrier has dodged the class action on unlimited, AT&T still faces legal challenges at the hands of two US agencies, the FCC and the FTC.

The FCC last year proposed a $100 million fine to punish AT&T for throttling the wireless Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans without adequately notifying the customers about the reduced speeds. The FCC said AT&T violated the commission’s transparency rule by falsely labeling throttled data plans as “unlimited.” AT&T is trying to get the fine eliminated or reduced.

The FTC filed a lawsuit against AT&T in 2014, alleging that the carrier from 2011 until 2015, throttled and changed the terms of the plans of more than 3.5 million customers who exceeded monthly allotments of 3GB or 5GB, depending on their phones these customers were on legacy unlimited data plans. AT&T has said the lawsuit does not have any merit, and MediaPost noted that case is still pending in federal court.

Separately, the FTC sued AT&T in an attempt to gain millions of dollars’ worth of refunds for customers who paid for unlimited data and had their speeds throttled. AT&T claimed the FTC had no jurisdiction in the case, but Chen rejected AT&T’s argument in April 2015. “AT&T appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to hear arguments about the matter in June,” the MediaPost article said. The FTC argues that AT&T reneged on its promise to provide unlimited data to customers.

AT&T last year relaxed the policy so that customers would only be throttled when the network is congested and not at all times regardless of network conditions. AT&T also increased the throttle point to 22GB. However, AT&T is still trying to avoid the punishment for its previous actions.

The throttling issues is not an AT&T issue of itself, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint are also accused of throttling “Unlimited” Data. Customers are complaining that numerous cell phone providers are misleading their customers by advertising “unlimited” data that is subject to throttling. While some customers complain that the throttling they’ve experienced prevents them from surfing the web and checking email, others claim that the slow Internet speeds prevent them from using critical services such as GPS. Furthermore, certain “unlimited” data customers who use their data while commuting to work complain that they spend additional money for services such as Netflix and Hulu, but are prevented from using these features on their cell phones when their data is throttled.

The following wireless providers have also been accused of data throttling:

  • Verizon Wireless
  • Sprint
  • StraightTalk Wireless
  • Cricket
  • Net10 Wireless
  • Solavei
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Boost Mobile
  • MetroPCS

More Here [Forthepeople] [ArsTech] [FierceWireless]

This article was first published here, and is reproduced with kind permission.

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .

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