Skip to main content

FTC Sues AT&T Over Data Plans


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yesterday that it has filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Mobility, LLC, for what it alleges are deceptive practices related to the company’s unlimited data plan for smartphones. At issue is AT&T’s practice of “throttling,” or reducing data speeds after customers reach a monthly data limit. In many cases, speeds were reduced by 80 to 90 percent, making functions like audio and video streaming virtually impossible. The complaint charges that AT&T failed to adequately disclose this practice, which effectively imposes a limitation on the company’s “unlimited” data plan. The FTC is seeking “permanent injunctive relief, rescission or reformation of contracts, restitution, the refund of monies paid, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, and other equitable relief” for practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a).

Although the FTC was created in 1914 to address widespread concerns about trusts and anticompetitive business practices, it also serves as a consumer protection agency, frequently targeting deceptive practices in advertising. Section 5(a) of the FTC Act prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” One famous instance of its use was in a 2004 case involving advertisements for KFC that touted the putative health benefits of the company’s chicken. That case ended in a consent order prohibiting KFC from making any representation that eating its fried chicken “is better for a consumer’s health than eating a Burger King Whopper,” or that it is “compatible with ‘low carbohydrate’ weight loss programs.” Another famous case involved the Airborne Health company, which sold an effervescent tablet that it claimed would reduce the risk of colds and other illnesses. The result was a settlement for $30 million to provide refunds to Airborne’s customers.

To learn more about the FTC, see this brief history, or visit the agency’s website at http://www.ftc.gov.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Congressional Report on the Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens Released Days Before Immigration Ban

On January 27 President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. Four days earlier, on January 24, the Congressional Research Service released its own report:  Executive Authority to Exclude Aliens: In Brief.
To those unfamiliar, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency, housed inside the Library of Congress, charged with providing the United States Congress non-partisan advice on issues that may come before Congress, including immigration.
Included in the report are in-depth discussions on the operation of sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in the context of the executive power . Discussions of sections 212(f),  214(a)(1) and 215(a)(1) report on how the sections have been used by Presidents, along with relevant case law and precedents. Most interesting is the list of executive orders excluding some groups of aliens during past presidencies; the table all…

GAO Launches Government Transition App

Want to learn more about the upcoming presidential and congressional transitions? There’s an app for that. 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently launched its Priorities for Policy Makers app (available free of charge for iPhone or Android), which is intended to “help President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congresstackle critical challenges facing the nation, fix agency-specific problems, and scrutinize government areas with the potential for large savings,” according to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. The app allows users to search by agency or topic, and provides brief summaries of relevant issues as well as links to more detailed GAO reports. 

You can also find GAO priority recommendations on the agency’s Presidential and Congressional Transition web pages.