A Throttling: FTC Files Suit Against AT&T For ‘Misleading Customers With Unlimited Data Promises’

Today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed suit against AT&T stating that the wireless carrier misled and deceived millions of its customers through data throttling for those with its unlimited data plan. On top of that, customers who cancelled their accounts because of throttling we then charged early termination fees.

"AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a press release. "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited."

Image Credit: Flickr (Bill Bradford)

According to the FTC, AT&T’s promotional materials for its unlimited plan emphasized the word “unlimited” for customers who signed up for it. But even when customers renewed their contracts, the company failed to inform them of its throttling program which started in 2011. AT&T’s throttling program was “severe” which would begin after customers used as little as 2 gigabytes of data during a billing period and resulting in a reduction of 80 to 90 percent in their download rates.

The FTC goes on to allege that AT&T throttled at least 3.5 million unique customers for over 25 million times.

The complaint has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco.