After dragging out the case for five years, AT&T has finally agreed to pay $60 million back to customers for throttling mobile data plans advertised as “unlimited.” Ars Technica reports: The FTC, which sued AT&T in 2014, announced the settlement today. The deal ends a long saga in which AT&T unsuccessfully tried to cripple the FTC’s regulatory authority over telecoms. A court loss last year basically forced AT&T to settle the case. “AT&T promised unlimited data — without qualification — and failed to deliver on that promise,” FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith said in the announcement. “While it seems obvious, it bears repeating that Internet providers must tell people about any restrictions on the speed or amount of data promised.”
Under the settlement, AT&T did not admit or deny any of the allegations made by the FTC. AT&T’s current and former customers who were affected by the throttling won’t have to do anything to get their refunds, according to the FTC. The commission said: “The $60 million paid by AT&T as part of the settlement will be deposited into a fund that the company will use to provide partial refunds to both current and former customers who had originally signed up for unlimited plans prior to 2011 but were throttled by AT&T. Affected consumers will not be required to submit a claim for the refunds. Current AT&T customers will automatically receive a credit to their bills while former customers will receive checks for the refund amount they are owed.” “AT&T must pay the $60 million within seven days after the settlement is approved by the US District Court for the Northern District of California,” adds Ars. “AT&T would have to identify each eligible consumer within 30 days and give bill credits and refund checks to existing and former customers within 90 days. If there is any leftover money, it must be paid to the FTC, which would try to provide further relief to customers.”
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