AT&T has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the District of Columbia as a result of overcharging the District for years.
The District entered into a contract with AT&T in 2012 for both wireless and broadband services, as well as equipment and accessories. The contract was designed to provide the District and government agencies with AT&T’s most affordable options.
According to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), however, AT&T allegedly submitted “false invoices that did not comply with contract requirements to provide cost optimization and the most cost-effective telecommunications plans available. Instead, AT&T knowingly invoiced the District for features, add-ons, and other services that failed to comport with this mandate, causing millions in improper charges that were paid with taxpayer funds.”
The actual lawsuit filing goes even further in describing AT&T’s business practices, a description anyone who has spent hours on the phone with AT&T trying to get their bill corrected will no doubt relate to:
Because of these years-long failures, AT&T overbilled the District in violation of the False Claims Act and common law. AT&T concealed its overbilling, and the District’s subsequent overpayments, with billing practices rife with errors, unapplied credits, billing overages and reports that did not meet the rate optimization standards of the contract.
Attorney General Karl A. Racine indicated his approval of the settlement in a statement:
“My office filed suit against AT&T to ensure that it fulfilled its contractual obligation to provide the District government with the least expensive cell phone and data services available. We are pleased that after filing suit, AT&T immediately sought to resolve the case in a manner that results in making the District and its taxpayers whole.”