TracFone to pay $40M for throttling or cutting off unlimited data
The Federal Trade Commission has fined the TracFone, U.S. subsidiary of America Movil, for throttling or completely cutting off data to customers who have signed up for unlimited data. False advertizing of unlimited data from 2009 through 2014 will cost them $40 million. Customers who have been misled by TracFone subsidiaries as Straight Talk, NET10, Simple Mobile and Telcel America in any way, whose ‘unlimited data’ were throttled between 1 and 3 gigabytes without any explanation, whose data were cut off entirely after reaching 4 or 5 gigabytes or for even losing their service completely (talk, text, and data) in some cases, are eligible to getting their money back.
Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said: “The issue here is simple: when you promise consumers ‘unlimited’, that means unlimited. This settlement means that Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America customers will be able to get money back from the company for services the company promised but didn’t deliver.”
The FTC also said that in September 2013, TracFone has started disclosing some of the limitation on its “unlimited plans” (high speed data allotments on Straight Talk’s $45 and $60 unlimited plans were set on 3 GB) but still the info was in small print or hidden somewhere where customers were likely to miss it. So, besides having to pay $40M to affected customers, TracFone also needs to be clear from now on about any limitations that they have on its service.
Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, or Telcel America consumers whose unlimited service was interrupted in any way before January 2015 can file a claim for a refund on www.ftc.gov/prepaidphones.