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AT&T To Pay $700,000 For Overcharging Consumers 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-thousandths-of-a-percent-of-quarterly-revenue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports on an agreement between AT&T and the FCC which will require the telecom company to pay $700,000 to the federal government to resolve overcharging complaints. AT&T will also refund charges to customers who were switched from pay-as-you-go data plans to monthly plans after AT&T said they could keep the old plans. 'AT&T has also agreed to an extensive compliance plan (PDF), which includes: consumer notification, training of customer care representatives, and periodic compliance reports to the FCC. AT&T must also conduct additional searches of its records to identify improperly switched consumers and ensure appropriate refunds.'"
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AT&T To Pay $700,000 For Overcharging Consumers

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  • wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:15AM (#41906469) Homepage Journal

    They'll make enough by lunch time to cover it.

    Big penalty, that...

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:16AM (#41906485)
    A much simpler and far more effective punishment would be if they were forced to run ads (on TV, magazines, online) to let the public know they were overcharging their customers.

    Fines don't mean crap to billion dollar companies. They need punishments that actually punish them.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:18AM (#41906499) Journal

    ...not those who were damaged....

  • Re:wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:53AM (#41906787)

    They'll make enough by lunch time to cover it.

    Quoth TFA -- "He added that AT&T had already discovered and corrected the issue by Nov. 2010, and had given refunds to customers who contacted AT&T."

    Whatever their fine is, it should be increase by 100-fold because AT&T discovered the issue 2 years ago, but only refunded customers who contacted them and complained. You'd think that if they discovered unfair customer overcharging, they would refund every affected customer?

  • Re:700,000 dollar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:57AM (#41906817)

    Just success is never villianized.

    Clearly some of AT&T profits were not just nor legal, or else they would not have had to pay this money back.

  • Re:700,000 dollar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:57AM (#41906821)

    an ink dot on himalayas, when compared to unjust profits of telecom vultures

    I assume they get to write off 700K as losses when filing federal taxes? Plus another 2-3 million as a cost of locating and refunding the affected customers, so that the penalty is fully offset by a decreased tax liability.

  • Don't Believe it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:58AM (#41906833)

    training of customer care representatives

    No company has trained customer care, I said it and I stand by it! If AT&T succeeds with this, they will be the first company to ever have trained ( not necessarily qualified ) customer care representatives.

    On a side note and unrelated, I once had an issue with a router where it wouldn't get an IP address from the modem, I called Dlink and the lady on the other end kept saying "I need the IP address of the router sir", I kept telling her it didn't have one and that was the issue, she had NO idea what I was saying and kept repeating the same phrase. Got to love trained customer care! Thats not even my best story!

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:29AM (#41907141)

    Fines would mean crap to companies and individuals alike if they were levied as a percentage of income instead of a flat amount. Is there any good reason why it isn't done this way?

    Yes! Yes, there is [stopthecap.com]. According to this article, AT&T paid zero taxes (received subsidies, even) in 2011, which means they probably had near zero official income in 2011.
    Maybe you can't pull such crap in UK, but in US percentage of corporation income is not the way to go.

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