AT&T Inc.(NYSE:T) is reportedly nearing an agreement with the US government on forcing monthly data packages. The mobile carrier has agreed upon paying the federal government an amount of $700,000 and offering refunds to customers for forcing some smartphone users into using monthly data plans by mistake.
In late 2009, AT&T had started necessitating new customers to subscribe to monthly data plans. Present customers with pay-per-use plans or no plans were forced to get a monthly plan when they had updated to a new smartphone.
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The condition was not supposed to pertain when subscribers replaced a lost or damaged phone through a warranty or insurance program, or in case they moved to different AT&T service area. However, a computer malfunction moved all these customers into monthly plans.
AT&T now needs to reinstate the older plans and issue refunds. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the refund amount could amount up to $30 per month.
AT&T has mentioned that the issues have affected a small number of clients and that those who have got in touch with AT&T have already been refunded. After signing an agreement with FCC on Tuesday, AT&T needs to post notices on bills of customers and offer them a chance to return a pay-per-use plan or drop data usage totally.
A spokesman for AT&T, Marty Richard has downplayed the importance of the agreement. He stated that the approval decree took into account less than 0.03% of its wireless customers, who unintentionally had subscribed to monthly data plan after getting a new smartphone through an insurance scheme or warranty or after relocating to a different network area. He said that as a part of the verdict, the company will be providing a bill-page notice to customers affected, offering refunds and giving them the option to return a data plan.