The FTC accuses T-Mobile of fraudulently adding costs in their clients’ bills. T-Mobile was allegedly taking a share of 35 to 40 percent of the fake costs revenues. It was easy to do it, as long as finding out exactly what you have to pay is a very lengthy process. The bills sometimes reach up to 50 pages. Moreover, identifying exactly what you are being charged for is even more difficult because the company used confusing labels such as “8888906150BrnStorm23918” to cover the extra charges.
FTC accuses T-Mobile of stealing from costumers through third-party services
By introducing third parties premium services like horoscope or dating tips, T-Mobile was (or maybe still is) adding $10 to the monthly bills. FTC accuses T-Mobile of this practice called ‘cramming’.
Some clients did inquire about the exact costs and demanded refunds. T-Mobile seldom acted in accordance. Instead, the wireless carrier chose to ignore the requests or promise a cut from subsequent bill, but never do so.
T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere calls the FTC’s press release headline “FTC Alleges T-Mobile Crammed Bogus Charges onto Customers’ Phone Bills” as being sensationalist. The CEO tweeted “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.” It is not exactly what anybody would call a denial. The FTC proposes fines of up to $33 million.
Ironically, T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, went on a rant against AT&T and Verizon for their prices. He compared them to rape, a statement he later regretted.
The FTC accuses T-Mobile of being aware of the problems since 2012 but did not act in the clients’ interest. T-Mobile did not pursue further the concerns raised by clients regarding third party services. Verizon used the similar ‘cramming’ tactic in 2012 and returned the clients’ money after a settlement, according to The Washington Post. The FTC conducted a study whose results say that 1 in 20 persons with crammed bills was unaware of the illegal practice. There are many ways to end up with a crammed bill. One of them is by filling forms on the Web with your phone number. But some third party provider, such as Wise Media, were just randomly selecting phone numbers. Even if the FTC accuses T-Mobile of illegal practices, without thorough action from the feds, cramming might continue to live on.