AT&T will pay $60 million to settle a federal complaint that accused the telecommunications company of misleading millions of customers by charging them for supposedly "unlimited" data plans while slowing their service.
A spokesman for AT&T took issue with Chopra's claims.
"We couldn't disagree more with Commissioner Chopra's baseless characterization of the case," AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said in a statement. "None of his allegations were ever proved in court. We were fully prepared to defend ourselves, but decided settling was in the best interests of consumers."
AT&T "failed to deliver" on its promise
FTC officials said AT&T offered unlimited data to customers, but in 2011 began slowing down the data transmission speeds — a practice known as throttling — as soon as customers reached two gigabytes of data within a billing cycle. Throttling data means it takes a user longer to check emails, stream a video or browse the web on their mobile device.
"AT&T promised unlimited data — without qualification — and failed to deliver on that promise," Andrew Smith, FTC consumer protection bureau director said in a statement. "While it seems obvious, it bears repeating that internet providers must tell people about any restrictions on the speed or amount of data promised."
AT&T customers who purchased a service plan before 2011 are eligible for a partial refund. Former customers don't need to submit a claim and will receive a check with the appropriate amount. Current customers will get a credit on their monthly bill.
The throttling settlement comes five years after AT&T agreed to pay $80 million in a case where customers had extra charges added to their bill for text messaging with their consent.