T-Mobile In Hot Water For Allegedly Profiting Off Bogus Fees
If you were sucked into T-Mobile’s “Early Termination Fee” hype, you might have been relieved to escape AT&T or Sprint pain-free — but you might have walked right into a new problem: Cryptic fees on your T-Mobile bill. But don’t worry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has caught on to T-Mobile’s shenanigans and slapped the carrier with a lawsuit, USA Today reports.
The FTC is accusing T-Mobile of bilking hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting customers. The mobile carrier reportedly hid these bogus fees and labeled ’em as “Usage Charges” or “Premium Services,” according to The Huffington Post. Such fees, which cost $9.99 a month, should only show up on your bill if you willingly signed up for content such as horoscopes, celebrity gossip, and trivia. And well — no one really subscribed to these services.
“T-Mobile typically gets 30% to 40% of the third-party fees and forwards the rest to the merchant.” This practice, according to USA Today, is called “cramming.”
“It’s wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs the charges it was imposing were fraudulent,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez wrote in a statement.
John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, had a few choice words for the FTC case: “We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit,” he said in a statement. Legere claims that T-Mobile stopped charging customers the unauthorized fees last year and offered refunds for anyone who complained about it.
“We are disappointed that the FTC has instead chosen to file this sensationalized legal action,” Legere added.
The FTC’s ultimate goal is to get the court to order T-Mobile to refund its customers for the “deceptive and unfair” fees it has tacked onto monthly billing. “Consumers should not be charged for services that they did not order,” said Travis LeBlanc, acting chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “”We will […] ensure a thorough, swift and just resolution of the numerous complaints against T-Mobile.”
The lawsuit filled against T-Mobile is ironic; Legere, calling T-Mobile the “Un-Carrier,” criticized his competitors for charging its consumers exorbitant fees and charges just last month.
“These high and might duopolists[…] are raping you for every penny you have,” he said, referring to AT&T and Verizon. “The f***ers hate you.”