FTC claims T-Mobile charged customers millions for bogus SMS subscription fees [Updated]

T-Mobile CEO John Legere
By Jerry Hildenbrand on 1 Jul 2014 03:48 pm EDT
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Update: T-Mobile CEO John Legere has posted a public response to these claims, saying they are "unfounded and without merit." He goes on to talk about T-Mobile's proactive response to these issues as compared to the competition. You can find the full statement at the T-Mobile Newsroom

Original story: The Federal Trade Commission says that T-Mobile has placed "hundreds of millions" of dollars in bogus charges into customer bills. In a press release issued today, the government office alleges that T-Mobile included premium SMS fees that it knew were fraudulent because of the high cancel-rates from subscribers. This is a practice the FTC calls "cramming."

[When] a phone company places charges on a consumer's bill for services offered by another company, often receiving a substantial percentage of the amount charged. When the charges are placed on the bill without the consumer's authorization, it is known as "cramming."

The FTC further alleges that because of the complexity of T-Mobile customer bills (which may be over 50 pages long), these charges were hidden and customers weren't able to easily sort out the various "Premium Service" charges. According to the complaint, the information would be listed there in an abbreviated form that did not explain that the charge was for a recurring third-party subscription supposedly authorized by the consumer.

This comes just weeks after T-Mobile announced that they were stepping up their fight against unauthorized billing and would be proactively notifying customers about charges of this nature. Certainly, these two are related.

The full press release follows.

FTC Alleges T-Mobile Crammed Bogus Charges onto Customers' Phone Bills

T-Mobile Was Aware For Years that Charges Were Not Authorized by its Customers

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a complaint filed today, the Federal Trade Commission is charging mobile phone service provider T-Mobile USA, Inc., with making hundreds of millions of dollars by placing charges on mobile phone bills for purported "premium" SMS subscriptions that, in many cases, were bogus charges that were never authorized by its customers.

The FTC alleges that T-Mobile received anywhere from 35 to 40 percent of the total amount charged to consumers for subscriptions for content such as flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip that typically cost $9.99 per month. According to the FTC's complaint, T-Mobile in some cases continued to bill its customers for these services offered by scammers years after becoming aware of signs that the charges were fraudulent.

"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," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "The FTC's goal is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges."

In a process known as "third-party billing," a phone company places charges on a consumer's bill for services offered by another company, often receiving a substantial percentage of the amount charged. When the charges are placed on the bill without the consumer's authorization, it is known as "cramming."

The FTC's complaint alleges that in some cases, T-Mobile was charging consumers for services that had refund rates of up to 40 percent in a single month. The FTC has alleged that because such a large number of people were seeking refunds, it was an obvious sign to T-Mobile that the charges were never authorized by its customers. As the complaint notes, the refund rate likely significantly understates the percentage of consumers who were crammed. The complaint also states that internal company documents show that T-Mobile had received a high number of consumer complaints at least as early as 2012.

The FTC has made significant efforts to end mobile cramming. In the last year, in addition to holding a public workshop on mobile cramming, the Commission has filed several lawsuits against alleged mobile cramming operations Jesta Digital, Wise Media, and Tatto Inc.According to today's complaint, T-Mobile billed its customers for the services of these FTC defendants as well as an operation sued by the Texas Attorney General.

The complaint against T-Mobile alleges that the company's billing practices made it difficult for consumers to detect that they were being charged, much less by whom. When consumers viewed a summary of their T-Mobile bill online, according to the complaint, it did not show consumers that they were being charged by a third party, or that the charge was part of a recurring subscription. The heading under which the charges would be listed, "Premium Services," could only be seen after clicking on a separate heading called "Use Charges." Even after clicking, though, consumers still could not see the individual charges.

The complaint also alleges that T-Mobile's full phone bills, which can be longer than 50 pages, made it nearly impossible for consumers to find and understand third-party subscription charges. After looking past a "Summary" section as well as an "Account Service Detail" section, both of which described "Usage Charges" but did not itemize those charges, a consumer might then reach the section labeled "Premium Services," where the crammed items would be listed.

According to the complaint, the information would be listed there in an abbreviated form, such as "8888906150BrnStorm23918," that did not explain that the charge was for a recurring third-party subscription supposedly authorized by the consumer. In addition, the complaint notes that consumers who use pre-paid calling plans do not receive monthly bills, and as a result the subscription fee was debited from their pre-paid account without their knowledge.

When consumers were able to determine they were being charged for services they hadn't ordered, the complaint alleges that T-Mobile in many cases failed to provide consumers with full refunds. Indeed, the FTC charged that T-Mobile refused refunds to some customers, offering only partial refunds of two months' worth of the charges to others, and in other cases instructed consumers to seek refunds directly from the scammers – without providing accurate contact information to do so.

The complaint also notes that in some cases, T-Mobile claimed that consumers had authorized the charges despite having no proof of consumers doing so.

The FTC's complaint seeks a court order to permanently prevent T-Mobile from engaging in mobile cramming and to obtain refunds for consumers and disgorgement of T-Mobile's ill-gotten gains.

The FTC thanks the Federal Communications Commission and its Enforcement Bureau for their invaluable assistance with and close cooperation and coordination in this matter.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

173 comments

acopernic

Good for BlackBerry to break the deal with this crap.

freddysrevng3

This BlackBerry Hating Dirtball showing his idiotic greed.... well played..

Antoniius

Amen. It is funny how many people fall for this crap and are like "omg t-mobile is way cheaper and awesome."

They throttle your data massivly.

They are only about 15 dollars cheaper then Verizon and my devices work everywhere.

T-Mobiles network is a joke at best. Look at their service map. Most of my friends barely get 1x and are constantly throttled on T-Mobile.

I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan that verizon let me keep. I used 250gb on it all the time and they never throttle me. Not to mention Verizons network with 4G LTE is crazy fast. I can run my tablet, 60inch 1080p led TV, laptop and desktop off my Q10 and it doesn't even blink.

Screw T-Mobile. They treat BlackBerry users like trash and try to con them into switching to an iPhone just to shore up their numbers. John Legere acts like a spoiled little brat that is pretending to be cool but nothing but is fake and a liar.

Will never go back. Never.

Posted by Antoniius via my sexy Gold and White Q10.

Prem WatsApp

You're on a mission. ;-)

Looks like you left something very similar on the last T-Mo related blog post's comment section.

:-)

If coverage is really so much worse, then a "marginal" savings of $15 is probably not worth it, if you can afford it. I'd pay it, if I was in the US.

Yeah, and Verizon carries the Z30.

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

meltbox360

The only place I regret having Tmobile is in road trips. The expressways not near larger cities kind of have terrible data coverage. But that's maybe 5 days worst case per year. I'll save the money. I pay $10 for 2gb, show me anywhere comparable. 4 lines with two of them with data comes in at about $110 after taxes. New plans assume you want way more than what I want. There's just no choice. Grandfathered doesn't count. I can't get that. I'm grandfathered into an old T-Mobile plan and I'm not going anywhere until something gets cheaper or at least better for the same price.

Posted via CB10

Antoniius

Lol I always am Prem ;) You too though we're the best BlackBerry contributors eva :)

And yeah I have a pretty awesome plan. But it's pretty much the same price as current subscribers only difference is I got to keep my unlimited data.

And verizon isn't to bad to BlackBerry they have a dedicated area in all their stores for BlackBerry devices and they cary them all. They also always get the exclusives like the white versions.

The slight price difference is worth all the added benefits. Also I would never join BlackBerry's enemy. Love John Chen :)

Posted by Antoniius via my sexy Gold and White Q10.

Prem WatsApp

Thanks :-)

Pasted via CB chen

Dominick079

I don't know where you live but I live in NYC and went to many Verizon corporate stores when the Z30 was released to try it out and not one store had a demo unit out and when I asked the reps about it they stated they don't stock them in store. If you want one you would have to order it online. A dedicated area for BlackBerry devices??? LMAO

slagman5

The local AT&T store has both a Q10 and a Z10 on display, and I mean working units you can try.

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

joserMireles

If Verizon would offer me unlimited, unthrottled data for $15 dollars more than what I pay at t-mobile then I would be all over it but unfortunately that's not the case for anybody I know.

Aleij Barb

Your comment is a joke to people who travel...and no, I don't mean in USA only.

1. Verizon isn't a GSM carrier, which means no international sim card on your phone.

2. Verizon charges extra for international text and Internet, whereas t-mobile is free.

3. I'm sure you'd come across areas where Verizon has no service, you'd wish for a wifi calling function.

4. T-Mobile is supported by HSPA+ 42 where you don't receive LTE signal. With Verizon, you only get 3G; have fun with that.

5. Screw Verizon for forcing you on 10GB a month, unless you want to pay more for less allowance, what a great idea! As someone who has wifi all the time, I couldn't even reach 800mb usage in a month with all the browsing, music listening and photo sharing.

If your whole life is stuck in USA, then by all means, stick to your verizon. If you want better freedom, check out att or t-mobile

Posted via CB10

cbvinh

1. Some Verizon phones do have SIM slots for international travel... Verizon BlackBerry's for instance. I don't know if they come unlocked or not though. Sprint's CDMA Q10 is unlocked.

6. Music streaming with certain services on T-Mobile is free now too.

FunktasticLucky

Any LTE phone has a sim card slot as LTE is based more on gsm. But not all phone support the frequencies. Z30 obviously works just fine. I got hspa+ in England and Japan just fine the whole time I was there.

Dominick079

AT&T is a better option. I pay $150 a month for 2 lines with unlimited talk and text and 6GB of data.

Antoniius

Your whole comment is a joke. Of course every carrier has spots where there isn't some coverage. But it's very rare with verizon.

Second, most people are NOT traveling constantly over seas. If you are you just need global roaming on verizon, it's a 6 dollar add on. All BlackBerry phones will work too.

Most people aren't shafted by their carrier where they have to constantly rely on WI-Fi calling all the time.

I used 250 gb on my unlimited data and was never throttled. Try that with T-Mobile and see what happens. You will be throttled after 2gb.

Posted by Antoniius via my sexy Gold and White Q10.

slagman5

You don't go over 800mb?? Wow, light user... My minimum is about 2.5gb, and I never stream music... I've gone over 5gb several times in a month...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

eric.laplante2010

Been there and seen it first hand. Darn near every month that I was on a traditional plan I had to go over the bill and argue with somebody from India about why it wasn't supposed to be on the bill. Also, it's true what they say about tmobile data... it's unlimited because you are either throttled like mad, or stuck on EDGE most of the time. even in big cities like Minneapolis was I able to reliably hold a 4G signal and maintain good speed on my bold 9900 (and yes it was a tmobile issued device)
Their service is just not as good and they're cash strapped. That's why they got in bed with apple and will practically give you an iPhone. That's why they have dishonest billing practices. That's why they use India call centers. Take my advice all you considering tmobile: you get what you pay for. Low cost equals low quality. Period.

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westyj

I actually switched from Verizon to T-Mobile when Z10 came out and I've been very happy with them. I'm not sure where you get the "constantly throttling" from but where I am I get 39MB/s download speed so no complaints here.

I agree that if you get off the beaten path then data coverage does drop out but unless you actually live out there it is I would say a small price to pay that a few days a year you lose some coverage when you can save $15 a month. Not to mention the specialized features on Tmo like wifi calling, basic mobile hot spot without extra fees like Verizon charges, international text, calling, data.

I live near Detroit so I often travel over the border to Canada and it is great that I don't get massive charges for calls text and Data when I'm over there.

Also, in terms of this article, I've never had anything fishy or confusing about my T-Mobile bill and it was never more than a couple pages. Verizon did however lie repeatedly about billing issues and charged for same bill multiple times in a month, on multiple occasions.

In summary I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both but I definitely don't think Tmobile is crap or any more conniving than the other carriers.

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slagman5

Yah, Legere is for the people! What an un-carrier! People first! LMAO!!!!

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

richardyarrell1

This is nothing more than a non factor and it doesn't apply to every customer.

I have three lines of wonderful service on Tmobile it's the BEST PLACE PERIOD.

I don't blame people hating Tmobile has been kicking ass since 2012 and all carriers have been bowing down.

From my Galaxy Note 3 via CrackBerry App

slagman5

LMAO! Never knew carriers can have fanboyism...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

meltbox360

It's mostly because we've had worse experiences with other carriers. It's all relative and all evil.

Posted via CB10

slagman5

Speak for yourself. I've have been with my carrier for over 10 years, I have no desire to switch...

Dominick079

Agreed that's why I don't care about contracts because I am never leaving AT&T

Norman Cooke

Says the biggest fanboy here.

Posted via CB10

slagman5

Legere, is that you? Lol

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

khehl

you are one of a kind bud haha

Gazza12

Ditto. I had terrible issues with a pre paid when travelling in the USA 2 years ago. Crap coverage. Also glad BB let them go.

T is for tools.

LoneStarRed

Is this how Legere paid for his tanning club membership?

SnoozerBold

I wish there was a like button.

Posted via CB10. Over my carrier's data connection due to "Limited WiFi"

crackbrry fan

Lol and that pink t-shirt

Posted via CB10

bansheeboyz

This is a big deal, did they really think they would get away with this

Posted via CB10

slagman5

Get away with what? Being an un-carrier, fighting "for the people" and blah blah blah blah?? Lol, I can't believe people fall for his BS...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

meltbox360

You know however bad T-mobile is... AT&T was a million times worse with these little random charges. So IMO they're barking up the wrong tree. Then there's also the possibility that.... wait let me go get my tinfoil hat ;)

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slagman5

Really? And you were an AT&T customer to know that right? Or was that what T-Mobile advertised? I'm on AT&T and I know what all of my charges are...

meltbox360

Yes I was an ATT customer. After the grandfathered plans there was never a better deal when you took cost into account. It's why we went to T-Mobile as soon as we started on smartphones. We also just dropped them for home phone and Internet because our bill somehow made it to $100 a month because of random hikes in price. These companies are all terrible. AT&T just happens to be a company we hate for more than one reason. If their DSL was at least always working. Try getting them to legitimately fix a connectivity issue that's intermittent. Not a chance. From my experience T-Mobile is nowhere near the worst.

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slagman5

I've been with AT&T probably over 10 years by now. Also have the grandfathered unlimited plan, my monthly bill with them is like $88 a month and all of the charges are broken down in one page...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

jm7000

You never knew carriers could have fanboys yet here you are.

Posted via CB10

slagman5

Fanboy? For staying with a carrier that summarizes my bill all on one page, gives me a "confusing" (according to T-Mobile) discount, and gives me really good coverage? That's not being a fanboy, that's being selective. If AT&T has been trying to hide phony SMS charges in 50 page bills, getting rid of my discount and spinning it to be to help me from the "confusion" of the discount, and all of these other things, I'll drop AT&T like a bad habit... You probably need to look up the definition of a fanboy... It's people who stick with a carrier despite these things, like some people here...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

Dominick079

I pay $150 a month for 2 lines with unlimited talk and text with 6 GB of data. I don't know how much cheaper you could possibly get and yes the bill is broken down to one page and explains every single charge.

slagman5

Oh, but no, you need an "uncarrier" like T-Mobile to "save" you, lmao! :-D

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

Norman Cooke

I can't wait for your 180-degree turn on AT&T once they find an excuse to drop you from that grandfathered plan.

All your spittle-flecked rage will do you good.

Posted via CB10

slagman5

Even without the grandfathered plan, I can get a 2 line plan with 10gb shared data for about the same price, actually, maybe slightly less, per person... So yah, until they start doing what T-Mobile keeps doing, or start charging an arm and a leg like Verizon, you'll keep waiting...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

meltbox360

And if I'm not mistaken these charges are charges via T-Mobike from third parties. Meaning T-Mobile collects only a small portion of the mentioned amount. Hardly worth it for them. I think it's more of T-Mobile didn't feel like taking the effort to check every third party charge via text rather than actively scamming. If they wanted to actively scam they'd do one of those "service telephony charge" or related type of random fee that's like $2 and goes directly to the carrier.

Posted via CB10

Puz_zled

An FTC investigation and allegations of hundreds of millions in overbilling from fraudulent or near fraudulent practices is not something that is easily brushed off. This is an independent gov agency providing oversight and consumer protection for defrauded overbilled end users. Why do that if there is nothing there?

From my Neutrino Powered Z10

Dominick079

I have been with AT&T for over 10 years and have never had any random charges in fact they gave me a free month of service during hurricane Sandy because I lived in one of the flood zones. Plus I have had numerous discounts throughout the years. During hurricane Sandy Verizon customers were using my phone because they couldn't even make a phone call. I was on Twitter while Verizon customers struggled to even make a phone call

John Vieira

Now, while I think that T-Mobile certainly pulled off crap like this. It's mostly because of the lack of regulation from lawmakers.

And now that T-Mobile is calling out the other carrier's... well, they have more motive to go after them.

Can't have your biggest donors losing a little money, now can you?

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rthonpm

You'd think T-Mobile would have spent a little of that money in improving their coverage.

slagman5

LMAO, any way to spin this so Legere isn't the douche bag that he is huh? Wake up man...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

Norman Cooke

Well you obviously have no agenda.

Posted via CB10

slagman5

I do have an agenda, getting my enjoyment from the people who keep falling for these tricks over and over and keep believing all of the crazy spin work from Legere. :-D

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

ryanza

Sure better regulations would have helped but better internal self regulation could not have hurt much?

This isn't only a t-mobile problem it happens all around the world, I would go as far as calling it criminal negligence on the part of the mobile operators.

If a similar situation were to occur in a banking environment there wouldn't be many conflicting opinions on who was to blame.

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John r D

Dirty bastards!! Make them bitches pay back ;-)

crackbrry fan

Payback will be one, they will be fined as well.

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jackwaldon

the uncarrier, haha

Clanked

Tmobile....scumbags.

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crackbrry fan

Scum always rises to the top! :-)

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THBW

Doesn't surprise me. The CEO always struck me as someone who would cut corners to bump up short revenue at the expense of long term investment. His pump and dump approach to business management is all to common.

BlackBerry on the other hand has a quality guy. Go show them, Mr. Chen.

Posted via CB10

bradpromac

Karma.

AmaZ30ed

Prem WatsApp

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay", saith the LORD.

Even phone bills.... :-)

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

velkod

Finally someone taking charge with these huge phone companies. They're all doing this stuff and they need to be brought down a notch or 6

Mic2cool7

These comments don't surprise me. People blame everyone but themselves.. While what they did is dishonest and shady, it's not illegal. Is the customer not responsible for knowing what is leaving their bank account every month for a service they are paying for? Seems these charges are insignificant enough on a monthly basis to go undetected.

Posted via CB10

Mic2cool7

Or is it illegal?

Posted via CB10

THBW

So you're saying "screw the customer until they figure it out"? Perhaps, the reason T-Mobile has consistently flirted with bankruptcy is because of this very attitude. Cramming by the way was the same strategy that Wall Street used to push subprime mortgages. And where did that get us?

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crackbrry fan

Lol, that's what he is insinuating.

Posted via CB10

THBW

Really?

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crackbrry fan

Seriously!

Posted via CB10

THBW

Okay, got it now.

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crackbrry fan

It's called fiduciary duty.

Posted via CB10

FishhPoohh

Actually it is illegal. According to the report T-mobile continued to let it happen after they knew it was illegal.

Posted via CB10

Dominick079

Its not illegal to charge customers for services they didn't authorize? What planet are you living on? Why is the bill 50 pages long while my AT&T bill is one page and explains every single charge. John Legere has to be the most unprofessional CEO I have ever seen in my life and looks like a drug addict.

DS1331

Cell phone companies are so fucked up man I can't wait until the government fucks them and we don't have to pay $115 a month for a cell phone anymore

Q10 Posted via CB10

Lostonline

You don't have to pay. But, you want the phone.

CDN

harryhayde

Looool

Posted via CB10

John Grabb

It is SUCH good comeupins to Legere the idiot. On Canada day too! Cool!

riss89

Hmm. This almost isn't surprising.. T-Mobile has seemed shady and untrustworthy in terms of client relations for quite some time now. So dirty of them... I hope they are justly and swiftly punished and reprimanded.

Edward in Toronto

Looks good on them. No love for T-Mobile here.

california governor

I knew something was must give with the Uncarrier Campaign.

Posted via CB10 - Powered by Kick Ass Q10

ymb

Good thing I dropped them. Now I'll go check my bills from them to see if I was robbed

Posted via CB10 on my awesome black Q10 or my white sexy Z10

meltbox360

I don't understand all the hate. I literally cannot get anywhere near the same package from any carrier for the price I'm paying Tmobile. Come to think of it even new Tmobile plans don't fit my needs as well. Mostly because I don't need unlimited talk, nor do I need the premium that comes with it. That and data has gotten more expensive somehow...

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bbdodgersdude

That hate is because BlackBerry and T-Mobile are not best friends. Both CEO hate each other. On a BlackBerry site most will take side with the BlackBerry CEO.

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DecAway

I'm glad to see these leeches finally showing their true colors. I am glad I left them earlier this year. I hope they are fined heavily and lose more customers. Of course, old John will probably try to spin this somehow into being all of the other carriers fault and lie some more.

Posted via CB10

slagman5

No no, he will spin it to seem like it was to "help" the consumers and he's being attacked for being the "un-carrier." LOL

You know, just like getting rid of "confusing" discounts was to "help" the consumer. I don't get what is confusing about my bill being smaller than before the discount, but whatever. And the funny thing is, the people will buy it...

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

INTz

Why is there all this t mobile news here all the time. Forget them.

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John Kastanes

Time to get rid of this CEO.

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jh07

This was going on before Legree was around, read your bill, call and they remove it right away. People click on shit and they get charged for some bullshit service because they didn't read Terms and conditions.

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mscloutier

I think not. I had this happen to myself several years ago, I never signed up for anything and at the time I didn't even have a text plan.

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ubeda92

You "think not"?

Legere joined T-Mobile in Sept. 2012 and you say "this happen[ed] to myself [sic] several years ago."

Try making sense. You might enjoy the change.

Schmurf

It's possible mscloutier was with a carrier other than T-Mobile.

Posted via CB10

Prem WatsApp

But where do a quite a few of those scam charges come from in the first place?

In the early days it was dialers on dial-up that scammed you on your phone bill, if your Antivirus let them slip through.
Now it's shady (Android) apps and trojans doing it for you.

No thanks, check your bills and stay with BlackBerry.

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

darkhawk

Haha -oh

Posted via CB10

mscloutier

I left Rogers two years ago because of this identical scam.

Prem WatsApp

It's not a scam, calm down. Just a cram,
... /s

;-)

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

mscloutier

I'm betting John Chen would like to cram a BlackBerry Passport down John Legere throat. :)-

Posted via CB10

Prem WatsApp

Landscape mode...

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

Prem WatsApp

(don't support violence...)

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

mscloutier

I promise no BlackBerry's will be harmed.

Posted via CB10

Prem WatsApp

LOL, let's leave it at that....

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

moonfalle

When a ceo looks sleezy he probably is.

Posted via CB10

Buzz88

"unfounded and without merit."
Isn't that what Rob Ford always says?

mscloutier

Honestly officer, I was holding it for a friend.

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pick1eberry

Hey it's only cheating if you get caught! :-)

Yes I've been SQUIRCLEFIED! ™

nhanken

Could somebody please tell this man that he looks horrible wearing a pink shirt?

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Sayid91

Karma is always a bitch.

Posted via CB10 on Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.2228

jojo beaconsfield

Craming?you should have been jamming with BlackBerry, shame on you

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AtInsider

I hope both the CEO and T-Mobile get shafted real hard. I don't like the games this company plays with its customers. Hence the utter nonsense treatment with BlackBerry.

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cbvinh

I'm on T-Mobile and came from Sprint, which has by far, worse mobile data speeds. As for billing, I haven't seen a hiccup in the price at all, but I haven't been with T-Mobile that long yet. So far, I'm pretty happy with their service.

I have a story about AT&T though. One month, I noticed I was being charged for DSL service. I called up AT&T and said I didn't order DSL and don't have it. They said some company, in another city, ordered it and put it on my bill. I said since it's on my bill, I would like to cancel the service. They said I couldn't cancel it because I didn't order it! Anyway, it took some escalation and a couple of months of calling them to get credited.

Prem WatsApp

You didn't order it, but have to pay for it, but cannot cancel it?

Wow, if that makes kinda sense...

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

raino

You have too much patience. I would have disputed the bill with my credit card company--the entire amount--and let AT&T try to explain every penny.

cbvinh

I wasn't paying by credit card and wasn't sure how shorting the bill the DSL charges would affect things. Would AT&T eventually send it to some collection agency and I would be trying to fix a bigger mess? The customer service people could only credit the bill the DSL charges every month, but not remove the charge. Eventually I was transferred to a department that could remove the charge. Yes, it took patience.

Schmurf

Good on you for being persistent and taking the higher road.

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canuckbear

Karma is a bitch and so is T-Mo

StoicEngineer

It's not just TMO, check your bills. It happened to me on Bell. Not clear on how the charges started, but it wasn't easy to get them stopped.

Posted via CB10

nerdydaddyo

Read the FTC release. Some bills are 50 pages long. Anyone in here read all 50 pages of any legal document, such as an EULA? Nope. So it's easy to hide something in there. Is the customer at fault? Technically, yes, but the customer trusted T-Mobile not to bend them over financially. So if someone wants to be even more technical, T-Mobile is guilty of a practice known as stealing, and customer awareness or not, they're still a bunch of thieves and should not be allowed to remain in business if in fact the scheme that they were running with a third party holds true. That shows that not only did they know the unauthorized billing was taking place, they were also being paid a cut of the money to do so and hide it well. A form of "cooking the books" for the new decade! Unreal!

I used my almighty Z30 to create this CrackBerry madness!

cbvinh

I think the article meant that some bills were 50 pages long, not 50 pages of legalese to sign up for service.

nrkbb

This happened to me when I was with TMO. Was charged for a subscription to a celebrity gossip service. When I called, they said I would have to call the third party to unsubsribe. Told them they need to reimburse me because it was in my TMO bill. Took an email to the TMO corporate office to get a $10 charge taken off. What a bunch of BS.

Posted using my VZW BlackBerry Z30

gdg521

Be accountable for what you pay, don't be afraid to talk with your money. Tell friends and so on...soon it won't be cool to be on t-mobile

Posted via CB10

cbvinh

From T-Mobile's press release:

"We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit. In fact T-Mobile 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."

Seems like T-Mobile was aware and already took action last year.

raino

Right. They stopped billing November of last year. But they didn't return any money. And this year? As the press release says, "launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want." Unless they're talking about the customer, how is something where he/she has to dig through bills and ask for a refund (never mind the time and hassle of explaining to CS what you're talking about) "proactive?" And this would only cover people who actually go back through their bills and find the crammed charges. That's only a percentage of the total number of people they scammed.

cbvinh

It would be interesting to see how this plays out. How do the other carriers fair in regards to cramming? Was it only T-Mobile?

cbvinh

Hmm... apparently the other carriers were cramming too. The wiki page on cramming specifically cites Verizon cramming in 2010. Both Verizon and AT&T settled class action lawsuits in early 2013. All four big carriers vowed to stop cramming in November 2013. T-Mobile isn't innocent, but hardly were the other carriers.

Omnitech

All the large telephone and mobile carriers at one point or other have had questionable billing practices, oftentimes including "cramming".

However this is a strange enforcement action. I am going to post another comment about that below.

raino

Most likely not (and I've seen your comment above.) But, who knows, maybe TMO was the worst of the offenders. Maybe they were the least likely to budge when handing out refunds when initially asked for, did it the longest, had the most customers victimized, etc. Regardless, the FTC doesn't move when a dozen complaints are made, so there must have been a lot of them. Also, regardless of what they say now, refunding only the customers who ask for a refund (and not going back and seeing who all were charged in the first place) this money is not "proactive." That's just CYA bs.

bbdodgersdude

Raino have you ever had problems with your bill?

Posted via CB10

raino

Yes. A few years ago, on one of my family plan lines. I called in, and the rep at first had no clue what I was talking about. Then I was escalated, and at first the rep wasn't willing to take the charge off, until I asked for proof of consent. He couldn't provide it, I threatened to complain, and they took it off.

Aimed4Success

Who cares still one of the top companies that gives your more for your buck!

Sprint on the other hand did the same to me back in 05'

Z-10'ing it on the T-mobile Network (USA)

bbdodgersdude

Do you think if T-Mobile was best friends with BlackBerry people on here would be hating.

Posted via CB10

gpompeus

I hate T-Mobile... they are a money grabbing shitty service provider...

Posted via CB10

Aimed4Success

I take that 'who cares' but I'm staying with this company as its the fastest in Boston and reliable connection.

Z-10'ing it on the T-mobile Network (USA)

jas1978

I've been happy with T-Mobile for a long time. Acceptable prices and coverage. Although I've never been on another network so my experience is limited.

But I did drop the handset insurance when they stopped selling BlackBerry phones. No need for insurance when they cannot replace my phone with another BlackBerry. Saving $120 a year.

Posted via CB10

Christine85

I had the same problem with at&t. On my parents lines they were getting charged $9.99 for some crazy horoscope charges. I was fighting at&t for months until they put a block on their lines to prevent anything download from the internet or text messages. The rep on the phone was like "maybe your parents subscribed to this?"and I said "they don't even know how to text message! They only use it for emergencies!". Sheesh.

Posted via CB10 on my Zee 10

ShadowRaine

50 page bills?!

Posted via CB10

ubeda92

I'd like to know what percentage of bills T-Mobile has sent out in the last 5 years have been 50 pages long.

I doubt that more than 1% of said bills are even 10 pages long.

Mrluky

sure is funny how the other carriers changed their plans after t-mobile changed theirs,even if they were over chargeing they are still cheeper than the others. i think the other carriers are behind this investigation,trying to black ball the uncarrier.

jlinc

Sounds like a basic bait and switch plan. They get people to sign up with lower rates and then make it up with hidden charges and extra fees

Posted via CB10

cbvinh

What about the other carriers? They were cramming too and yet still charged more.

raino

And that makes TMO's cramming OK?

cbvinh

No, but what were the other carriers doing? Higher prices and cramming their customers.

Everyone seems to be casting stones and not looked at their own carriers.

raino

But TMO's the Uncarrier! Why did they refund just 40% of the affected customers? Is that what an Uncarrier does?

Rockland63

Légère looks like someone who would screw over his mother to make a buck. One look at him makes you want to run for the hills. Yikes!

Posted via BlackBerry Z30

rickster2611

T- mobile has sunk the whole ship.

The FTC will have to have a Federal investigation into 'cramming ' from all carriers.

Then finally make it ILLEGAL!!!

Get Up, Stand up... Stand for Your Rights !!!!

Posted via CB10

sfor13thlegion

Karma's a bit#h!

Posted via CB10

refnor2000

I hope they get sewed

Posted via CB10

joserMireles

What are they talking about? Is it like those ringtone websites where you put your phone number and then they start charging you $10 a month? That happened to me, wasn't so happy but I thought that happened to anyone regardless of what carrier they had.

raino

In general, some kind of bogus third party services you get signed up for despite a lack of clear consent (or any consent at all) from you. Happens with every carrier, yes, but for TMO to be singled out, the FTC must have received a huge number of complaints.

KKrusher

Enron, GM and now T-Mobile.
Money grabbing bloodsuckers.
I hope they put this guy where he can lose his fake tan permanently.

Old_Mil

Considering how they treat their business partners it doesn't surprise me that they treated their customers this wsy.

Posted via CB10

TomJasper

Pink Shirt Scum: I didn't do it.

Iron Balls Chen: Checkmate!

LLAmos

Karma

Posted via CB10

ubeda92

In 3 1/2 years of service from T-Mobile, I've seen only one questionable charge.

Showed up as text message. I complained the day I saw it and T-Mobile reversed the charge the same day.

hpq10elevendots

T-mobile is cheaper than others in certain configurations, but AT&T works much better and cheaper for me. And I don't have to worry about the coverage, AT&T is fluid everywhere. I don't think I could ever go back to t-mobile.

Posted via CB10

todparsons

I'm on T-mobile in the UK and it's been good for me. Almost always on H+ if not 3G only problem is I wish they had free 4G :'(

Z10 on T-mobile running 10.2.1.2947

DaedalusWren

It seems the cats out of the bag for T-mo. Glad Blackberry left that pile before this.

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

R. John McKinley

What is unthrottled data?

Posted via CB10

JohnnyTwo-Shoes

Throttled data occurs when a consumer is using up a lot of bandwidth and the provider limits the amount of bandwidth available.

Posted via CB10 on my Z30!

raino

Data that is not slowed down after you hit a declared or undeclared high speed data cap. Technically, all current TMO plans are unlimited data, what differentiates them is how unthrottled data you get before they throttle you ($50 gets you 1GB, $80 gets you unlimited unthrottled.)

Compare this with AT&T where they throttled grandfathered unlimited data customers, but without a declared data cap.

JohnnyTwo-Shoes

One of the worst things someone in his situation can do is compare themselves to others. If I was a T-Mobile customer, I don't care if AT&T does the same thing. I care that my current carrier is ripping me off.

Posted via CB10 on my Z30!

Omnitech

As much as I find Legere to be an insincere blusterbag and his regime at T-Mobile USA to be sleazy overall, this is a strange enforcement action.

If this were a US-headquartered carrier, in my experience the FTC would probably have a private discourse with the company and then come to some sort of settlement which was eventually publicly announced. The way they are going about this - publicly announcing a very damning complaint before apparently discussing it with the company - makes me wonder if there is something about T-Mobile's foreign ownership that emboldens the FTC to hold them up as a kind of whipping-boy in a way that a US-based company would never be treated.

Especially since T-Mobile is, at this point, the only major national carrier that may not be subject to legal pressure to disgorge customer data to the 3-letter spook-agencies in the same way that the US-based carriers are, and that could be making some top spooks very angry these days.

raino

1. Sprint's under foreign ownership too (albeit not during this time frame, I guess, but they inherit all liabilities when they buy the business, right?) so I'm not sure the foreign ownership is the reason. I think it's one of two possible reasons: worst refunded to charged ratio, or the most complaints filed (maybe they weren't budging as much as the other 3 were on taking off cramming charges.)

I'm also not sure that they're under less pressure to acquiesce to the NSA et al, given that "they" (someone, either the Bellevue, WA outfit or DT) own US spectrum, and can easily be sued in FISA courts.

2. I miss your insightful posts in the forums

Superfly_FR

There's no miracle.
If you pay less (furthermore zero) for a service than with competitors, there's always a counterpart. Some sell (or/and use) your data, some simply disguise unattended fees while others just don't deliver the same (quality of) service. In the worst scenario, combine them all.

Thinking otherwise can be observed on newly launched services, question is : how long will it last ? My personal answer is : until the company has enough customers and is not anymore in a conquest run (or cannot afford anymore to handle marketing acquisition costs).

cbvinh

The question is: How much is a fair price for mobile service? It seems like T-Mobile's prices are fair and the other carriers are just milking the device subsidy after a customer has paid off his/her phone.

As for "you get what you pay for": How does this work when AT&T wants to charge me $70/month for 24 Mbps down/3 Mbps up (peak), whereas a local ISP is charging me $35/month for 80 Mbps down/90 Mbps up (all the time)? The local ISP has no data caps and supports net neutrality... and doesn't like government spying to boot.

Superfly_FR

Well, I can't ague about your specific/local ISP. But having upload/download specs is not enough to convince me. As an IT pro, I've been challenging specs and real life and all my experiments turned into the same conclusion: specs are usually "maximum capabilities" and are barely close to reality. Reliability is also a parmeter we have to consider; there too, after a 6 month experimentation, it appears that QOS was far to be the same, either for connexion stability and customer support.
Also, anytime you want to do something that is not included in the packaged offer (fixed IP, multi-point access, roaming, ...), you usually have to pay more with a cheap contract than with a "normal" one.

Don't read me wrong; in MOST cases, the lower price will be more interesting for selected users (bc they can afford to lose their data connexion for a while or don't need extra services, for example) and the price choice will then be fine. In other situations (mine : cannot afford to lose data connexion, everywhere (travel included), anytime), it won't probably fit users needs and turn into a deceptive choice.

quailallstar

I've never had any if these charges on my bill before.

Posted via CrackBerry App

awindsr

They are all dirtbags anyway

Marshall Tigner

Not surprised. Tmobile=greedy

Posted via CB10

bbmyyz

Why does the ENTIRE article show in the blog view where only a preview of the article should be showing? It's a lot of needless scrolling. Just give us the first paragraph or two in blog view. Thanks.

Zeratul57

I noticed ATT bills getting more stable this year instead of a doller more or a few cents more here and there. Total scan unregulated rippoffs!!!!!!!! NOw they catch these SCUM BAGS. I hope they get fried and have to sell. No one should be operating if your business is to FLEECE the public.

adonesc

Wow, that shit eating grin sporting fucktard in the pic is the CEO of T-Mobile?!?! Wow, why would anyone trust that guy?!?!

Anybody who's still trying to emulate Steven Tyler makes me instantly suspicious! Never mind that he looks like the poster (child does not apply) baby-boomer candidate for Viagra and Cyalis!!!!

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!

maclaskey

That dude looks like he sucks a mean lollipop!!! Lmao

Posted via CB10

4RN

I would like to see the FTC and FCC take more action with these phone companies.

Verizon is my provider and their service is way too pricey.

Posted via Z10