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

Spying and International Law

With increasing numbers of foreign governments officially objecting to now-widely publicized U.S. espionage activities, the topic of the legality of these activities has been raised both by the target governments and by the many news organizations reporting on the issue.For those interested in better understanding this controversy by learning more about international laws concerning espionage, here are some legal resources that may be useful.

The following is a list of multinational treaties relevant to spies and espionage:
Brussels Declaration concerning the Laws and Customs of War (1874).Although never ratified by the nations that drafted it, this declaration is one of the earliest modern examples of an international attempt to codify the laws of war.Articles 19-22 address the identification and treatment of spies during wartime.These articles served mainly to distinguish active spies from soldiers and former spies, and provided no protections for spies captured in the act.The Hagu…

Citing to Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated: Finding Accurate Publication Dates (without touching a book)

When citing to a current statute, both the Bluebook (rule 12.3.2) and Greenbook (rule 10.1.1) require a  practitioner to provide the publication date of the bound volume in which the cited code section appears. For example, let's cite to the codified statute section that prohibits Texans from hunting or selling bats, living or dead. Note, however, you may remove or hunt a bat that is inside or on a building occupied by people. The statute is silent as to Batman, who for his own safety, best stay in Gotham City.
This section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife code is 63.101. "Protection of Bats." After checking the pocket part and finding no updates in the supplement, my citation will be:
Tex. Parks & Wild. Code Ann. § 63.101 (West ___ ). When I look at the statute in my bound volume of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, I can clearly see that the volume's publication date is 2002. But, when I find the same citation on Westlaw or LexisNexis, all I can see is that the …