(CN) - TracFone has agreed to pay $40 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges that it deceived millions of consumers with hollow promises of "unlimited" data service.
The FTC's complaint against TracFone alleges that since 2009, TracFone has advertised prepaid monthly mobile plans for about $45 per month with "unlimited" data under various brands, including Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America.
But despite emphasizing unlimited data in its advertisements, TracFone drastically slowed or cut off consumers' mobile data after they used more than certain fixed limits in a 30-day period.
As described in the FTC's complaint, throttled customers often experienced slow-downs of at least 60 percent and sometimes even 90 percent, significantly impairing their ability to engage in online activities like streaming video.
Consumers who had a Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, or Telcel America unlimited plan before January 2015, can visit www.ftc.gov/prepaidphones to file a claim for a refund. Refunds will be paid to consumers whose data service was slowed or cut off.
Consumers who had an unlimited plan but are unsure if their data service was slowed or cut off should still file a claim to find out if they are eligible for a refund, the agency said.
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