Windstream settles broadband advertising suit with Georgia for $600K

Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) has agreed to pay $600,000 to settle a suit with the Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Protection over claims that the service provider did not deliver the advertised DSL speeds to its users, reports WGCL-TV, a CBS affiliate based in Atlanta.

The $600,000 figure includes $350,000 in civil penalties, administrative fees and expenses and $250,000 in restitution.

"Windstream has cooperated fully throughout the inquiry by the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection," wrote a company spokesperson in a statement. "Windstream is pleased to resolve this inquiry by entering an assurance of voluntary compliance with all applicable advertising laws. That agreement includes no finding or admission of violation by the company."

The agency said that this case should serve as a warning to other companies that offer services in the state to back up what they say in their ads.

"Be careful what you're saying, be sure what you're saying is accurate and that you can back it up," said administrator John Sours. "You need to be accountable for what you tell people you're going to do."

Cases of false broadband advertising allegations are not limited to Windstream and U.S.-based providers, however.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and BT (NYSE: BT) came under fire in 2012 for similar issues.

A California consumer claimed that Verizon did not deliver the speed it promised when she switched to a higher priced plan.

Likewise, the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that some broadband advertising claims by BT were misleading. BT's main competitor Virgin Media said at the time that the telco's ads unfairly claimed in 2011 that its Infinity broadband service was "unbeatable."

For more:
- WGCL-TV has this article

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