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July 2, 2014

FTC Files Complaint Against T-Mobile

Court Documents Claim Company Charged Customers for Unwanted Services

T-Mobile CEO John Legere answers a question during the 'Tablets Un-leashed' Twitter conference, on Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013 in Bellevue, Wash. T-Mobile announced a revolutionary approach to make tablets, including the iPad Air, just as mobile and connected as smartphones by offering customers 200MB of free high speed data every month for the life of their device. At right is T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert (Stephen Brashear / AP Images for T-Mobile)

There’s a storm brewin’ between the FTC and T-Mobile.

ftcIn fact the thunderheads have already rolled on to the horizon — the Federal Trade Commission has filed an official complaint against the cellphone company. The complaint, filed in a Western District of Washington court, claims the company had been, until December, charging consumers for services above and beyond what they had subscribed to.

The FTC, in court papers, claims T-Mobile “has charged many consumers for other services offered by third-party merchants. These purported services have included monthly subscriptions for content such as ringtones, wallpaper, and text messages providing horoscopes, flirting tips, celebrity gossip, and other similar information (‘Third-Party Subscriptions’).”

Customers were typically charged $9.99 per month for the services with some customers not authorizing or ordering these services, the FTC claimed. It’s a practice known as “cramming.”

The complaint was quickly dismissed by T-Mobile.

The company issued a press release with CEO John Legere’s name on the bottom, stating it finds the complaint “unfounded and without merit.”

T-Mobile, though, never states in the release that it has not participated in cramming. Instead, the release states the company “stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want.”

The company goes on to state it is disappointed in the FTC’s move and encourages other companies to follow in its footsteps and stop charging consumers for any service not agreed to or requested.


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.