Is Limited Unlimited Service False Advertising?

from the define-unlimited dept

Just last month, we wrote about people getting kicked off Verizon Wireless' high speed EVDO network for using the "unlimited" network too much -- raising the question of how you could use too much of something that was being advertised as unlimited? Glenn Fleishmann, as per usual, has done a nice job looking into the limited unlimited plans offered by the big three mobile operators -- though, Sprint's terms and services are apparently not readily available. Still, the big issue isn't really being discussed: isn't having your marketing team proudly selling "unlimited" service, while your lawyers limit it very much in the extremely fine print, a clear-cut case of false advertising? The operators and their supporters say they need to limit use to protect the network. That may be absolutely true -- but, if that's the case, then they shouldn't advertise it as unlimited. If they can't actually deliver unlimited service, they shouldn't be selling it.

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  1. identicon
    Mike Ivey, 30 Nov 2005 @ 10:35pm

    The Unlimited Game

    This has been going on as long as I can remember, even pre-internet. Back when I had Prodigy Classic (actually named Prodigy Classic retrospectively when the internet arrived), I had my account suspended numerous times for using too much of my unlimited time (which probably amounted to a good 8 hours a night between chat, message boards, games, etc. totalling about 240 hours a month). They said a reasonable amount of time was like 100 hours and I had used more than double a reasonable amount. When I responded that it said the time was unlimited (a term which us laypersons know to be synonymous with infinity), I was told to keep my usage within reasonable limits but even reviewing their AUP and other policies, nothing ever put a hard figure on "unlimited". It is clear-cut false advertising. If you can't afford to give people "unlimited usage", don't advertise unlimited.
    Recently people have been disconnected from cable/dsl ISPs for exceeding 200 gigabyte usage on their unlimited cable service. At 5MBps, 200 gigabytes is less than 4 days of continuous transfer. ISPs want to advertise unlimited access to all this high quality content, then turn around and limit your access to them. I can blow a gigabyte of transfer in a few hours just by downloading a linux distro and playing some games.

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