AT&T gets a hefty $700,000 fine for overcharging customers

by: Bams SadewoNovember 7, 2012

Aside from making sure that all mobile devices, such as your precious Android smartphones and tablets, won’t spontaneously combust and/or cause immediate health concerns, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also deals with wireless carriers and their often shady practices to try and reap as much profit as they can from customers.

After a long investigation, FCC has found AT&T guilty of duping customers into paying for service that they never asked for in the first place. In light of the decision, AT&T has been asked to pay $700,000 to the federal government. We say it’s a fine, but the statement says it’s a “voluntary payment.”

The story began in the cold November month of 2009, that’s when AT&T made its monthly data plans mandatory for new and existing subscribers. The network promised that some customers would get to keep their old pay-as-you-go data plans, namely smartphone customers and those who opted to disable the data altogether.

Problems started when the very same group found out that they’d been unknowingly moved to the new monthly data plans, which according to the FCC cost them $25 to $30 a month more. The ensuing chorus of complaints was what led FCC to the matter.

But don’t worry though, aside from the $700,000 fine, AT&T has agreed to refund customers for the overcharges. As expected, AT&T also said that there’s no real harm done, as it only affected 0.03% of its wireless customers. To be more specific, it only affected those who got a new smartphone “through a warranty or insurance exchange” or moved houses.

The moral of the story: It’s worth paying more attention to the phone bills that you receive every month.

  • Hefty? Hardly. They probably spend more than that on staples.

    Call it what it is – a slap on the wrist.