I have a phone service that charge a flat rate every month providing 30GB data at high speeds and then unlimited data at 2G.

Now I noticed that as I finished my 30GB data quota, the company never slowed down my data speed as it promised. So far I have used about 40GB high speed data this month and the system shows my data balance is negative. Surely I am enjoying more (unlimited?) high speed data, but I am wondering if eventually they will charge me for the high speed data that I used after the 30GB limit.

Since I never requested high speed data beyond 30GB and the company did not slow down my data speed as it promised, I am basically receiving a free service that is neither promised by the company nor requested by me.

Does the company have the right to charge me eventually for the high speed data that I used? Will they likely to do so? Or maybe it is simply a loophole that I am not responsible of (in which case I can use as much high speed data as I need with no consequence)?


To me it appears that your agreement includes 30GB at high speed, and unlimited data at 2G or better. The phone company may have valid internal reasons to offer those 10GB at better-than-2G speeds, for instance the lack of a 2G network in your area.

Since they are the only party that can reasonably throttle the network data speed (it's their network), you can't be held responsible for the fact that they delivered data faster than they promised.

  • Thanks! So I assume this implies from now till the end of the month, I can freely use any amount of the high speed data (when it is available) with no negative consequences on my part? – Zuriel Oct 10 '19 at 12:43
  • @Zuriel: The problem here is that we only have the information you gave us, and the whole contract (including legal context) is what matters. Now for the purpose of this site that's OK, but as the warning already says: "not a substitute for individualized advice from a qualified legal practitioner". My answer is a general answer. It basically states that contract parties may over-deliver and often do, to simplify matters for themselves. – MSalters Oct 10 '19 at 12:50
  • Here is the link to the plan: totalwireless.com/serviceplan. (See the "2 lines" part). The company specifies "no contract" but promised the data quota as I described. – Zuriel Oct 10 '19 at 12:54
  • The ToS says "as low as 64kbps" which confirms that the actual speed might be higher depending on circumstances. – MSalters Oct 10 '19 at 13:04
  • Thank you! This clarifies everything! – Zuriel Oct 10 '19 at 13:12

You didn't specify a jurisdiction, so I'm going to answer for the UK. The principles will be similar in most places.

If you have a monthly quota, you almost certainly have a written contract with the phone company. A claim that you didn't request the service has basically no chance of succeeding.

Then legislation like the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 comes into play. That attempts to redress the balance between companies and domestic consumers by establishing the principle that unfair terms in something like a home phone contract are unenforceable.

  • 1
    A claim that you didn't request the service has basically no chance of succeeding. I am not so sure. The service he requested was up to 30GB of high speed data; he did not ask the company to provide the additional high speed data. – SJuan76 Oct 10 '19 at 8:08
  • Thanks for the answer! It is actually in the US. Am not sure if this makes any difference. – Zuriel Oct 10 '19 at 11:33
  • I believe the written agreement is that the company provides 30gb high speed data monthly and then unlimited data at 2g. It does specify the scenario I described. – Zuriel Oct 10 '19 at 11:36
  • @SJuan76 The point I was trying to make is that one should look at the contract terms to see what happens when you exceed your cap. If they say 'we may throttle you' and then they don't that's fine, no foul. If they say 'we may throttle you or bill you at $X/GB', I don't see that a claim that the service was unsolicited could stand. – richardb Oct 10 '19 at 17:50

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