Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile fined $10.2m over deceptive “unlimited" plan advertising

New York Attorney General says New Yorkers and all Americans deserve to know they will be treated fairly when buying a service or product
The image shows the external area of an AT&T office. — Pexels

The image shows the external area of an AT&T office. — Pexels

T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T will pay a total of £10.2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging they falsely advertised some wireless plans as "unlimited" and phones as 'free."

The agreement was revealed this week by a group of 50 attorney generals, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“New Yorkers, and all Americans, deserve to know that when they buy a service or product, they will be treated fairly and can trust what the seller is saying,” James says. “AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile lied to millions of consumers, making false promises of free phones and ‘unlimited’ data plans that were simply untrue.

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"Big companies are not excused from following the law and cannot trick consumers into paying for services they will never receive," she added. "We will continue to go after companies that hurt everyday Americans and try to take advantage of this basic and critical service.”

The investigation found that “the wireless companies made several misleading claims in their advertising, including misrepresenting 'unlimited' data plans that were actually limited, offering 'free' phones that came at a cost, and making false promises about switching to different wireless carrier plans.”

Alongside the £10m fine, the deal requires that future ads are “truthful, accurate, and non-misleading” and that plans are only marketed as unlimited "if there are no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle,” amongst other conditions.

The firms must also assign a dedicated representative to work with the attorneys general to handle customer complaints and train their customer service teams to comply with the agreement. They also have to enforce a program to ensure compliance across their teams.

This follows shortly after the FCC fined wireless carriers almost £200m for illegally selling real-time location data about their customers.