The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken action to prevent Internet service provider, Frontier Communications, from lying to consumers and charging them high-speed rates for slow Internet service.
Under a proposed order with the FTC and two California law enforcement agencies, Frontier will not have the right to mislead consumers about its slow Internet service and will have to substantiate its claims of speed.
(Photo: Frederik Lipfert via Unsplash)
Frontier must also provide current customers with free and easy rollbacks when it fails to deliver promised speeds, according to the FTC.
“Frontier lied about its speeds and ripped off customers by charging high-speed prices for slow service,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said in a statement posted on the website. the FTC. “Today’s proposed order forces Frontier to back up its broadband claims. It also gives customers lured by Frontier’s lies free and easy options to ditch their slow service.”
Frontier did not deliver what it advertised
Frontier advertises and sells digital subscriber line (DSL) Internet services in several packages, depending on download speed. In May 2021, the internet company was sued by the FTC when it failed to deliver promised internet speeds.
According to CBS News, thousands of consumers have complained to Frontier and government agencies since at least January 2015 that their broadband service was slower than expected. Frontier provides DSL service to approximately 1.3 million people in 25 states, many of them in rural areas.
In the FTC-filed complaint, the agency alleged that Frontier failed to provide many consumers with the maximum speeds they were promised, and the speeds they actually received were often well below what they were promised. had been promised in the packages they had purchased.
The FTC has taken action following numerous customer complaints.
“My office will not sit idly by while companies take advantage of consumers by not providing them with the services they have purchased,” Los Angeles County Attorney George Gascón said in a statement posted to the site. FTC website.
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What is included in the FTC’s proposed order?
With the FTC’s action, the internet company must now maintain its claims for new and existing customers and notify them when it is unable to do so.
The proposed order also required Frontier to ensure it can deliver the Internet service speeds it advertises before signing up, upgrading or billing new customers.
The internet company must also notify people who get slower-than-advertised internet speeds and let them change or cancel their service at no cost, according to a CBS News report.
Under the FTC’s ruling, Frontier is prohibited from recruiting new customers for its DSL Internet service in areas where the high number of users sharing the same network equipment is causing congestion resulting in slow Internet service. , the FTC said.
Frontier will have to pay $8.5 million in civil penalties and costs to the Los Angeles County and Riverside County attorneys’ offices on behalf of California consumers.
Additionally, it will have to pay $250,000 to distribute to its California customers harmed by the company’s practices, the FTC said.
According to the FTC, Frontier has been ordered to install fiber-optic Internet service, which is faster than DSL, in 60,000 California homes over four years, at an estimated cost of $50 million to $60 million.
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