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AT&T fined $700,000 by FCC for switching prepaid customers to contracts

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday November 07, 2012.

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AT&T will pay a $700,000 fine and refund customers that the carrier overcharged when it switched pay-as-you-go customers to monthly subscription plans without their permission. AT&T admitted that when it instituted mandatory plan changes for upgrading customers in 2009, it mistakenly applied the new rules to existing pay-as-you-go customers who should have been exempt from the rule change. That led to prepaid customers paying as much as $30 per more than they should have under their existing plans.

According to an AT&T spokesman who commented to Reuters, about 0.03 percent of customers had been mistakenly switched when the error was first discovered in 2010. Given that AT&T had 95.5 million customers at the end of 2010, as much as 28,650 customers may have been affected by the account error. AT&T says that it reimbursed customers who contacted the company, and its internal review finds that the "vast majority of those customers affected by the billing error have already been made whole."

Michele Ellison, Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau released the following statement after announcing that AT&T has agreed to pay a fine and better train employees to prevent errors of this nature in the future:

"[The agreement] puts precious dollars back in the pockets of consumer?where they belong. We strongly encourage AT&T subscribers to check their bills closely and contact the company if they spot any overcharges related to wireless data."

source: Reuters, via: IntoMobile

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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