AT&T Customers Who Had Throttled Data Could Get FTC Payout

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened a claims process Thursday for former AT&T customers who had their data throttled to receive compensation, according to a release.

The FTC said customers who had an unlimited data plan between 2011 and 2015 may be eligible for a refund from the $7 million remaining in a fund created to settle data throttling allegations from the wireless provider.

In 2019, the FTC required AT&T to provide $60 million in refunds for failing to tell customers that their unlimited data plan would be throttled after users reached a certain amount of data usage in a given month.

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According to the FTC, some customers experienced data speeds so slow that internet browsing and video streaming became difficult or nearly impossible.

The money AT&T paid the FTC went into a fund that the provider used to provide partial refunds to customers who had throttled data plans.

But AT&T has yet to reach everyone eligible for a refund, so the FTC is using the funds to provide partial refunds to customers meeting specific criteria.

Eligible people must be former AT&T customers who have yet to receive a check or credit from AT&T and had an unlimited data plan that was noticeably throttled between Oct. 1, 2011 and June 30, 2015. Customers have until May 23, 2023 to submit a claim.

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Data throttling for unlimited data plans is not uncommon. Most unlimited plans come with some sort of deprioritization in the fine print, meaning that after a certain amount of usage, a user’s account is subject to slowdowns when the network is busy.

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But AT&T didn’t disclose this to customers, not even in the fine print. AT&T and T-Mobile rolled out fully unlimited plans in 2021, but only to their top-tier data plan holders.

Other companies, like Verizon, still use deprioritization in unlimited data plans.

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2023, 2:13 pm CST

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

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