AT&T fined $700,000; will refund overcharged customers
Under a consent decree, AT&T will refund certain customers who were moved to a monthly plan from a pay-per-use plan without their consent
IDG News Service - AT&T has agreed to pay $700,000 and refund certain customers said to have been overcharged on smartphone plans, after the Federal Communications Commission found that some customers were moved to more expensive monthly plans without their consent.
From September, 2009, the operator began requiring smartphone subscribers to purchase a monthly data plan as a condition for receiving wireless voice service. But customers covered under a "grandfathering policy" were not required to move to a monthly plan unless they upgraded an old smartphone, or they opted for the monthly plan, in which case they also lost their special status.
Some AT&T smartphone subscribers who were eligible to be charged for data under a pay-per-use plan or had data blocked on their phones under the grandfathering policy were however moved to a monthly data plan by the operator, according to a consent decree posted on the FCC's website.
Shortly after AT&T began mechanized enforcement of its monthly data plan from Nov. 1, 2009, the FCC said it began receiving complaints from AT&T subscribers about the addition of monthly data plans to their accounts. Some of the complaining subscribers alleged that they were, or appeared to be, grandfathered subscribers who should not have been subject to AT&T's mandatory monthly data plan requirement, according to the consent decree. A grandfathered subscriber is one who used a smartphone with a pay-per-use data plan or a data block on AT&T's network, prior to Nov. 1, 2009.
Some consumers who replaced their old phones under warranty or insurance, or who moved to a new residence were switched to the monthly plans, even though AT&T had said the grandfathering policy would continue to apply in these situations, FCC said in a statement on Tuesday.
AT&T has agreed to pay the FCC $700,000 which is described as a "voluntary contribution" and also provide the option of a refund to grandfathered customers who were moved to the new monthly plan without their consent, to the extent of the difference between the monthly plan and the pay-per-use plan. The customers will also be given the option to move back to their original plan.
The excess charges that AT&T has agreed to refund to individual customers could be as much as $25 to $30 a month, depending on data use, FCC said.
- SANS: Next-Generation Datacenters = Next-Generation Security This whitepaper takes a look at some new technology that may allow security teams to implement more flexible and capable protection models in...
- SANS: Protecting Virtual Endpoints with McAfee Server Security Suite Essentials SANS review of McAfees Server Security Suite Essentials that address some of the emerging challenges of securing virtual platforms and cloud environments.
- Safeguarding the Next-Generation Data Center Use of virtual and cloud servers has exploded. Unfortunately, security often lags behind. McAfee recommends looking at innovative solutions in order to erect...
- Aberdeen: Securing the Evolving Datacenter This report highlights ways security technologies and services are evolving to provide the visibility and control needed to deploy workloads flexibly in the...
- Is SQL Server AlwaysOn really as powerful? Tips and Tricks from the field With the introduction of AlwaysOn, Windows Clustering Services is now more critical than ever.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center... All Wireless Carriers White Papers | Webcasts