AT&T to pay customers for slow DSL speeds

People who signed up for AT&T DSL service after March 31, 1994, may be eligible for a partial refund after the operator settled a class-action lawsuit charging it with delivering data rates slower than promised.

AT&T doesn't admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement of a case filed last year in the Court of Common Pleas in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Customers or former customers will have to rely on AT&T to determine their eligibility for the refund. If AT&T's records indicate that the operator configured the downstream speed of the user's DSL service at a slower rate than that promised in the user's plan, the user is eligible for US$2.90 per month that the service was too slow.

AT&T will also pay people who it finds received slower speeds than promised, even if AT&T didn't configure the service for the slower speed. Those people are eligible for $2.00 for each month that their service was slower than expected.

People who say that they had slower speeds than they should have, but that AT&T says received the promised speeds, may be eligible for a one-time $2.00 payment.

Customers must file a claim to get the refund by July 1 and can do so on a Web site set up to offer information about the settlement.

In addition to maintaining the Web site, AT&T will include a notice about the settlement in customer bills and will send postcards to former customers who may be eligible for the payment.

In addition to the payments to customers, AT&T will make a $3.75 million charitable contribution and pay $11 million in legal fees.

The court is scheduled to rule on the settlement agreement on June 1.

AT&T also said that for a year it will monitor current DSL services to make sure people are getting promised service. If customers are receiving slower service, AT&T will either boost the speed or adjust the customer's required payment.

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