RALEIGH – The state of North Carolina and several other states have joined the Federal Trade Commission in suing Frontier Communications, alleging the internet and other communications provider did not deliver promised internet speeds to “many customers.” The FTC says Frontier charged “for more expensive and higher-speed service” than was provided.
The FTC announced the suit Wednesday.
Frontier offers services in the Durham area as well as much of western North Carolina plus numerous other states.
North Carolina is seeking “civil penalties of up to $5,000.00 for each of Frontier’s acts or practices that were knowingly violative of North Carolina’s Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Act.”
“[T]he FTC and its state partners allege that Frontier advertised and sold Internet service in several plans, or tiers, based on download speed. Frontier has touted these tiers using a variety of methods, including mail and online ads, and has sold them to consumers over the phone and online,” the FTC said in the announcement.
“In reality, the FTC alleges, Frontier did not provide many consumers with the maximum speeds they were promised and the speeds they actually received often fell far short of what was touted in the plans they purchased.”
NORTH CAROLINA’S GROUNDS FOR LAWSUIT AS STATED IN THE FILING:
Plaintiff State of North Carolina, acting by and through its Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, brings this action in the public interest and pursuant to Chapters 75 and 114 of the North Carolina General Statutes. The State of North Carolina, by and through the Attorney General, is charged with, inter alia, enforcing North Carolina’s Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Act, N.C.G.S. §§ 75-1.1, et seq., which is intended to protect members of the public from being harmed by unethical and unscrupulous business practices, including deceptive statements and conduct, carried out in North Carolina commerce.
North Carolina’s Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Act authorizes the State of North Carolina to seek temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief, rescission or reformation of contracts, restitution, the refund of monies paid, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, civil penalties, attorneys’ fees, expenses, costs, and other equitable relief for Defendants’ acts or practices in violation of N.C.G.S. § 75-1.1.
The suit focuses on so-called DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, services that is used by some 1.3 million customers across 25 states.
“Since at least January 2015, thousands of consumers complained to Frontier and government agencies that the company failed to provide DSL Internet service at the speeds they were promised,” the FTC said. “Many consumers have complained that the slower speeds actually provided by Frontier failed to support the typical online activities they should have been able to perform at the speed tiers Frontier had sold to them.”
- FRONTIER SERVICE AREAS: See this map online.
Joining the suit as well are attorneys general from Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and local district attorneys in Los Angeles County and Riverside County on behalf of the state of California.
The case will be decided by a court. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.