T-Mobile CEO John Legere

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.

 

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

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Yea, Reynolds does... They come in flat sheets and they even let you custom fit it to your head size and cut it at whatever length you want.

This is definitely a non factor in my world the three lines of service I have on Tmobile is working better than ever.

Plus people know what their bills are monthly if extra charges are on the bill and it shouldn't be you don't have to pay it.

Plain and simple Tmobile is shaking up the sour carrier game since 2012 now the common haters want to attack.

Pretty comical to say the least.

From my Galaxy Note 3 via Android Central App

LOL you got the words hater from uh oh? And justifying this? No matter who the carrier it is that's BS.

BTW Tmo sucks. There's the hating you was looking for...

This isn't the real Richard Yarell. Idk why this guy is imitating him....

Brought to you by the Nexus M8

Richard has toned it down a bit. That makes me happy. He sometimes has good contributions, but you have to admit, he is entertaining!

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while, odds are it'll still get it's head bit off by wolves tho.

No silver lining here....shame..shame
Shame on you T-Mobile
After a very impressive presentation. Turns out you have sticky fingers

Boom

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You mean the response saying that the FTC is lying even though many T-mobile customers have complained about this.

I was a customer who was screwed by this policy.

I asked t-mobile about my issues with their text messaging and they persuaded to move to a new service, at the time, which gave me unlimited text messages through their month to month program. But I had to pay to break my contract and did. A month later my phone broke and they would not cover it 11 months in under a 12 month warranty when it was a software problem on my sony device. I left t-mo and ported to Verizon. 3 months later they sent me an ETF for $300 even though I paid to break my contract under their CS Rep recommendation and was on a Month to Month plan. I never paid on principle.

Screw T-Mo

I was about to say the same thing haha. He totally turned it around on everyone else.

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can i keep my horse if i have never been billed for any of this, and somehow my bill keeps getting smaller even though i keep adding more lines?

Same!!! Added another line and it went up but by like $10. So far its 4 lines

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I'll be riding with you boys on my Shire riding high with my T-Mobile phone

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Because of something that the company I get wireless service did, I am somehow implicit? You are very tribal about your cell service, aren't you?

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I actually came to say something along these lines.I wasn't (for once) going to rag on T-Mo except to say that the thing a few weeks ago was designed to build goodwill and get out in front of this story. That in itself is a little swarmy, but everyone does it.

Verizon sneaks bogus charges onto your bill, hoping that you won't notice. That happened to me more than once, and is yet another reason I hate that company.

Re-read my comment. I did not mention T-Mobile. I was pointing out the fact that Verizon is sneaky. Verizon did the same thing to my girlfriend, and I'm pretty sure we are not the only ones they have tried to shaft. Verizon customers should check every line of every bill. Theirs is definitely NOT one you should sign up for automatic credit card/bill pay.

Verizon started charging me that $1.99 for days when I still had a dumb phone. I tried the web on the flip phone on month just to see how it worked (awful). I never used it again, I even deleted the browser shortcut do I wouldn't accidentally use data. But they kept charging me for a couple months. I called to complain and was told that I must have accidentally used it but they would cancel just the one month and block data from that phone, no refund on the other few months.... I didn't want it blocked I just didn't feel I needed to pay for services that I didn't use....

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Back around 7ish years ago, Verizon saddled me with $800+ in data usage, on a smartphone line that opted out of data. I want to say some 300mb of usage. it's kind of hard to accidentally use 300mb of data on a phone back then. I fought them for months, just to get proof of the data usage. They never did provide it.

6 years ago I had the same problem. I asked them nicely and they took care of it. Maybe instead of yelling and screaming to them you should just ask nicely.

This has never happened to me on my Verizon bill. Maybe you just add things on your own or text those numbers on the tv commercials. Stop doing that.

A few dollars?? Mine occasionally varies a couple cents and it's usually down to the local taxation, a few dollars seems a bit much unless your bill is a couple hundred...

I was refering to how mine was a couple years back when I had a solitary line, and every bill seemed to be different. Now I have a Sprint account (employee, dont shoot me) and I recently added an ATT line to my family's plan since the Family Share thing is pretty nice. I just pay them my part every month and they haven't really mentioned it has changed too much month to month.

Don't apologize for using Sprint. yeah, there are haters, but people are going to have to learn (eventually) that their personal experience from their 2 square miles of existence on this planet does not make them an expert on telling everyone else how to live their lives.

...or maybe I'm just optimistic about people on the internet. It's hard to say ;)

I get great coverage and speed on Sprint for where I live. And I get completely unlimited data, which I use the hell out of.

I've had Sprint in Maine, Oklahoma, and California (Bay Area) and they are beyond atrocious everywhere I've been. My wife had them in the Bay Area also and had to go to Verizon because she traveled all along the Bay Area for work and had no signal for calls or GPS. We used the G3, OG EVO, and EVO 4G LTE to no avail. Sprint might be good in some places but not most. With that said, I know they've gotten better but we put up with too much of their crap to give them another chance.

Understand, I never said that it was impossible for people to have had a bad experience on Sprint. I'm fully aware that many have. And I'm not even saying they deserve another chance. All I'm saying is that those of us who use Sprint and are happy with our service deserve not to be lambasted for stating so in a comment.

I hope by GPS you meant data for routing/maps, Sprint has little to do with GPS signal per se... Which can be lousy in a city, but it's no carrier's fault.

Since people are talking about how "bad" Sprint is.Let me just tell you my experience, I live in Indiana,Fort Wayne. And went to Florida for Vacation with some friends. Both have Tmobile, And me of course, Sprint. They literally had no service the whole trip, only in the few major cities along the way. I had LTE nearly 75% of the way and 3G 95% of the way, They were on Edge and 1G . Only places I didn't have service, was the deep mountains and some of Alabama. But they didn't have service neither. So Really, Sprint's NOT as bad as tmobile is out of urban cities. So I think the Sprint bashing needs to end because tmobile is just a waste of space in the Carrier industry. I hope Sprint buys them out because Tmo, HAS TO GO!

Mine went up around 70 cents just this month. Who knows what the hell for when they list some things under "other fees" or some BS. Doesn't sound like a lot, but when you multiply that by 100 million customers, that's a billion dollars a year.

If a bill changes by even 1 cent, these companies should be required to send you an email at least thoroughly explaining the reason for the increase. My plan stayed the same, I didn't do anything different, I didn't go over my limits, so why the hell did my bill change?

Precisely. Even these small cent changes may not seem like a lot. But if you increase my bill by 10 cents every month for years, that is quite a netted profit for nothing if done to many custoemers. I would like to know what those cents are for.

Actually they already do that. When they change anything that is in their control they do let you know. When its a government tax or fee they do not let you know. Blame the government on that one.

Pretty much, some are just better at getting away with it! We've also seen companies pay consumers bank plenty of times for billing errors, often years later, and it's usually peanuts (per consumer obviously, still a huge gaffe in the grand scheme).

I was thinking the exact same thing.
I'm still loving them better then VZW. Our family plan charges were getting out of control.
Bogus charges or not, i'm now paying less for service that is actually better in my area.

Wow. So you love a company that has great service but gouges you with bogus charges....well, maybe not you but apparently many, many others?

OK, that's what I was thinking of. Thanks.

Calm down everyone else...don't get all butthurt over it. Sorry I made a mistake.

***Ivana........Ivana Humpalot***

Yup. The other carriers have enough money to pay off the right people at the FTC though. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I really believe this happens. We've all had unexplained charges added to our bills at some time or another. If you don't monitor your bills religiously, you won't even know.

Sprint has never messed with my bill. I check it like a hawk every month and have for the last 12 years. OK, OK. There's a month or two here and there where I got lazy....:) But I have been hit up with 3rd party crap a couple of times. As soon as I saw them, I called CS and got the charges removed no questions asked.

I actually came to say something along these lines.I wasn't (for once) going to rag on T-Mo except to say that the thing a few weeks ago was designed to build goodwill and get out in front of this story. That in itself is a little swarmy, but everyone does it.

A little swarmy? You make swarmy an art form and in your classic swarmy way you excuse your swarmy behavior by implying everyone is swarmy.

Right Dumbo, you keep telling yourself that. You contribute nothing around here. Actually you detract...

What I just said was entirely accurate. Everyone does it so Tmo does not need to get lambasted for this. Getting out in front of the story is crappy instead of just saying "it happened and we are committed to fixing it. here is how..."

Grow up.

Because TMobile wasn't as good at covering their tracks.
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Comment was meant for Jerry but keeps posting under this comment thread. Go AC mobile app! Lol

Maybe T-Mobile was just the first company to draw the FTC's attention because of their relatively high customer cancellation rate from a while back. I wouldn't be surprised if the other big carriers are being looked at currently.

My bill is still low compared to competitors. So I really don't care.

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Well if you put it that way the others are stealing more then. And my bill is actually decreasing. I never had problems with T-Mobile. They even sent me a network extender for freeish. Ight bruh

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Freeish, meaning not free at all. They charged you and you are still happy that you had to pay MORE to get their service where you want it.

WOW

Freeish implies not free.
And if you need a network extender you more than likely are getting robbed anyway

(there are some exceptions to that obviously)

I didn't need one fam. I had 4 bars in my house but I just wanted signal in my basement. Now my whole house has signal plus I have WiFi throughout so I win. And they didn't charge at all. The only reason I said freeish was because it's T-Mobile property I'm basically renting the device. Sorry bruh, T-Mobile has been nothing but a wet dream for me.

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Yeah, but even if the others are stealing more, you just said that you don't really care that they are stealing from you AT ALL. Essentially, you're saying "Well, it's okay because everyone else is doing it."
Even if everybody else is stealing from customers, nobody should actually be stealing from customers. Nobody should be okay with any of the carriers stealing from us.

Bruh calm down. I checked my bills and I did not find any charges of that nature. I feel sorry for the affected, luckily I didn't get charged.

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So they are doing the same thing that Verizon and all the other have been doing forever, unfortunately they did not grease the right people, lol.
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Very happy T-Mobile customer here, but also happy to see this.. they did it to me a few years back.

Well,.. it's not that they "did it", but that they accepted the charges from the crammer Wise Media (recently dismantled by the FTC for posting these fraudulent charges). I had to call customer service over and over to fight the charge, and no matter what, the reps always insisted that I somehow signed up for the "service" without realizing it. Eventually they credited my account but in turn they turned off my access to texting shortcodes(i suppose i should be able to get that restored if i bother calling them) and direct billing(which i requested).

The most offensive thing about their insistence that I signed up for the "service" was that just by googling the text in the SMS i received, you would be taken to numerous articles about Wise Media and how many people were suing them.

Oh, and anyone who thinks your carrier didn't do the same thing, they probably did. Wise Media was hitting up people like crazy, and in my research I didn't find any indication that *any* carriers refused their charges. Now that Wise is gone, this probably happens way less, thankfully. They were *that* big.

In the six years I've been with T-Mo, this was the ONE issue I had with them.

I was hit up a couple of times on Sprint. But I watch my bill like a hawk so I knew right away. I called CS and the charges were promptly removed.

AT&T and Comcast need to be investigated as well. Comcast has tried to silently add a modem lease fee to my bill three times even though I bought my own modem from Fry's and do not own one of their modems. Each time I had the charge reversed and had to explain to Comcast that I am not leasing one of their modems. If I wasn't so diligent in inspecting my bills, I would have paid hundreds for nothing. No telling how many other customers these companies are robbing who don't notice it. Freaking low life crooks!

Comcast has done this to me multiple times as well and I had to go through the same ordeal multiple times too. Such a pain in the ass.

Same thing happened to my parents. I bought their modem for them and Comcast tried to add a modem fee to their bill

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Comcast billed my parents double for having one of their EMTAs for roughly 3 years before someone looked over a bill and told them they shouldn't be getting billed twice for one device, EMTAs are the cable modems with phone jacks in them for VoIP service. My parents didn't notice cause they were on autobill and as long as their bill stayed the same they didn't call in about changes.

Stop telling me other carriers all do it. Sprint has never done this to me in the 10 years I have been with them. My charges are all clearly defined. I bet it just killed AC to publish this article.

Sprint cancels carrier-billed items that you did not request get cancelled?

That's what this is about. The FTC claims T-Mobile should have stepped in and cancelled these items without the subscriber asking them to, because everyone knows SMS services are a scam.

If you read the whole article, they allege that T-Mobile insisted customers requested the services WHEN they were asked for a refund, and also directed customers to seek a refund from the company who scammed them to begin with. In other words - they received so many complaints about this company(i assume this is about Wise), they shouldn't have been accepting charges from them at all after it became apparent that they were pushing fraudulent charges.

I posted in more detail elsewhere in this thread, but the way the case is described in the article is to a tee what my experience was when i was hit with one of these charges. In my case, I found the charge right away(Wise actually sent me a text saying i was signed up - completely out of the blue), and after a few calls and some heated arguments with CS reps, they credited me the 1 charge that Wise was able to post to my account (it took 2 months before i was refunded)

But yes, the other carriers absolutely did the same thing, sprint included. There are articles all over the web about Wise and how the carriers weren't denying their charges.. they hit everyone.

How would we know if Sprint or any other company does that, if they're doing it right it should mean we never see the charge st all no? The explanations of all this are nearly as confusing as the charges!

The couple of times this happened to me on Sprint, Sprint promptly removed it and credited me back what was charged.

Was the charges for actual SMS sent/received or was it labeled/charged elsewhere on the bill? I can't really remember my AT&T bills, even local employees screwed it up plenty by changing stuff up without my authorization tho...

On Sprint I've never seen a charge I couldn't identify, outside of two texts to Spain on one month... I called and they gave me the number they supposedly came from refunded me the money right away, didn't happen again.

If there's one thing I can't complain about with Sprint it's their customer service.

No it was deep in the bill hidden under some premium services that didn't have clearly defined names and whatnot nor showed any signs of being a reoccurring thing.

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Queue the TMo apologists that will explain how TMo did it because they "care" more about the consumer...

Sorry, just had to. Most companies have been caught with billing errors in the past, some more egregious than others, this is just particularly bad timing for TMo... And labeling them SMS charges just seems to make it worse, hopefully they do right by consumers, what's a little more cash hemorrhage at this point.

I've always said it's almost more important how a company handles a screwup (mostly with regards to security, but even one as blatant as this), than the screwup itself.

Speaking of, Sprint charges me something like a $1.50 administrative fee for an Airave line that's otherwise free (weak signal at home), they charge it for all lines so I never questioned it.

T-mobile was already on top of this:

http://www.androidcentral.com/t-mobile-takes-stance-against-fraudulent-p....

I've been a customer for 10 years continuously and I've only had one run-in with shortcode abuse. Several years ago my son signed up for some service through the Web which was charged to my mobile bill. I called T-Mobile and they immediately took it off my bill and blocked future billing. End of story.

The funny thing is that the hatred for T-Mobile seems to trump the usual hatred for government, in all its incarnations. Where are the folks telling us that this is none of the government's business? They usually come out of the woodwork whenever the government is mentioned in a story.

No, they were getting out in front of the story. It is a very common practice when you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

Do you think that they just started this investigation or that it has been going on for months and T-Mobile knew this was going to be the outcome?

I am not faulting T-Mo here, or picking on them. It is a common practice in a bunch of industries.

Let's not white knight them here though and act like that announcement was anything more than damage control.

This is by far a Tmobile exclusive problem. They're just the first to get an investigation by the FTC made public about it. That's it.

Looks like T-Mobile isn't so different from AT&T and Verizon after all. The only difference is they're the underdog.

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Not sure how you can take this as a referendum on overall company policy... It's bad timing, bad PR, doesn't prove much of anything IMO. All companies are in it to make money, this notion that some care more about you as if they're feeding your puppy or visiting your grandma is just ridiculous. Do some have more consumer or data friendly policies? Sure, but people seem to extend that to an unreasonable conclusion about the company's goals.

He already did what any low life would do, he got out in front of the story a few weeks ago and got and uncarrier BJ for it. Now he can just easily come out and say we took care of the problem already so do not worry dear customer....

Oh ScottJ(ackoff) you act like this is a new investigation. And even it did start just 5 Months ago, that makes it worse for Tmo. It makes them liars for going back on their word.

Apparently they do not do everything that they say they do, kinda like their coverage.

Then they lied huh? Were full of crap? double dealing?

What would you call it? This investigation is not new and just ended with these finding. So they were doing it in the 6 months since they released that statement? File your comments under the "You are not helping" area

First, that was going forward, not backward
second that is just damage control because they knew they were getting hit with this.

Tell that to ScottJ, Jimbo and a few others that cannot see the forest through the trees. Don't tell them about Santa though, they will be crushed.

Don't lie to yourselves. They are all a bunch of con artists. TMO, sprint, at&t, Verizon. Etc. They all suck. Everyone is pulling for their carrier like it is a damn sports team and they fucking love it as they keep getting handed piles of our cash.

ಠ益ಠ

Calling them con artists or evil is nearly (but not quite!) as bad as when someone swears by one of the companies and how it "cares" so much more, like they're visiting your grandma every other weekend or somethin, IMO of course.

They're just companies, out to make bank like you or me, I doubt management sets out to be particularly evil or benevolent from the get go.

I mean, they're service companies, yes their policies have a huge impact in our lives but there's far more perverse markets full of companies with far more nefarious agendas.

That's what I'm saying. All the companies are trying to make money one way or another even if it is in scummy ways. For me T-Mobile (I've tried others) charges less, but I understand its just for me everyone else could be completely different.

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I don't care how little they charge. They could charge $5 a month, but the fact is that I need to have coverage. I need to be able to call someone.

All you have to do is block content on your lines of service. Did that day one when activating service on tmobile.. My bill is the same amount every month! No issues here.. People need to check their bill out every month to make sure they are paying for the correct service! I can't tell ya how many times customers come in my store complaining about the amount of their bills and I ask them when was the last time you even looked at your bill to see what's been charge and they say NEVER! Really, you might want to see what you are paying for!! BTW I am a T-Mobile employee and I am NO way taking up for this awesome company I work for, this goes for every one with a cell phone bill..

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That is the point we are trying to make here, that we shouldn't have to scour and investigate every month's bills because the company isn't keeping my best interests in mind by checking for known fraudulent charges.

It's your bill! You should be responsible and look at what you are paying.. Take responsibility! That's all I'm saying..

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Is this similar to getting a text asking if you want relationship advice and you reply "Yes"? Then subsequent sms's are charged? Why would anyone reply to that?!

The FTC should go after ATT. When I canceled, they billed me an extra month, and the customer dis-service department after admitting the bill was a mistake said "we sent you a bill so you have to pay it wether it's a mistake or not"

This is a made of story if I have ever heard one. I had forgotten to pay my AT&T bill and they eventually shut it off. And I was like oh dang I should take care of that right now. So within 5 min of my phone be shut off i paid to restore service. On my next bill I was charged a reconnect fee. I called them up and asked them to waive the fee and they said sure. No problems at all. And that fee was my fault for not paying on time.

I don't understand this. My bill when I switched to T-Mobile is a lot easier to read than sprints. In fact it lists every charge separately and very easy to read. Oh well, I'm still happy with t-mobile and the way my bill is.

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Both true and misleading.

First of all, this is a MAJOR issues for all US carriers, not just T-Mobile. The publication of these 'findings' seems suspicious to me in that no effort was made to compare other carrier's 'crammer' issues.

Secondly, this is absolutely true (of all carriers). As long as YOU don't complain, none of the carriers will do anything about it.

I was on Sprint for many years and had to call several times to get these cleared up.

I have been on T-Mobile now for 4 years and have seen this issue twice. In every case, the moment I made a fuss about it they took it off my bill.

Re: Comparison

No this case was specifically about T-Mo, bringing in other carriers practices would have just distracted from the issue at hand. The FTC can address the others once this is cleared up.

I usually do not believe things that the US government says. However, in this case, I believe them. T-Mobile is clearly in the wrong here.

Note: it's not like T-Mobile did anything different than Verizon and AT&T.... They all made money from this scheme.

No, this is legit.

I'm usually the first person to stand up and say you should be responsible and go over your bill, and your carrier should act quickly when any excess or unwarranted charges are found. But this goes a little deeper.

These scam premium SMS schemes can be tricky. A simple pop-up on a website can sign you up and they all seem to withhold the fine print while enticing you to sign up. And plenty of people won't notice $4.99 worth of charges added to a bill, especially when multiple lines use carrier billing for things like iPhone and Android apps. I would have not noticed it when i had my kids on my plan.

I feel the way the FTC words things are a bit harsh, because (in this case) T-Mobile didn't commit the fraud and aren't at fault that you got signed up, but I'm glad it's being addressed.

Now to file against AT&T, Sprint and Verizon for the same exact thing.

And it happened on my kids line on vzw. Blocked it with parental controls, the ability to download third party and verizon services. So now I pay the $4.99 for the privilege of managing my kids lines. Their gonna get you somewhere.

According to the FTC complaint, T-Mobile pocketed 35-40% of the third party subscriptions, then went out of their way to bury the details in the billing statements. For those customers who use prepaid and don't have billing statements, they just took the money out of their account.
To make matters worse, T-Mobile continued to bill customers for years even after the customer told T-Mobile the charge wasn't correct.

To me, that indicates T-Mobile knew what was going on and didn't want to stop the money they were receiving (hundreds of millions).

If their are complaints against the other carriers, then the FTC must investigate them (they have no choice).

More posturing.

He really needed to either do what I said ("We already have addressed it") or left it sit. This guy has made such a spectacle of himself that it is better for him to do/say nothing than to bring more publicity to the matter.

The PR assistant to the assistant should have come out and released a statement, not him.

OTOH...it's ALWAYS him out there. Might it look a little suspicious if he suddenly distanced himself from this one?

Plus I don't think he can help himself....

No

I think he just points to the statements a few weeks ago, drop Joh L's name a few times, and keep the story low key. When a CEO comes out on something like this it gets a whole lot more press.

But your right, he cannot help himself. He is an attention whore to the Nth degree.

For all the services I've gone paperless with, it just means you get a digital copy of the exact same statement that they would have otherwise printed out and mailed to me.

Yeah but getting the bill in the mail is like a reminder to check it over. I understand where he is coming from. When I get the notice my bill is due, I usually forward it to my work account or add something in my calender to remind me to look. Mostly for extra charges from the kids but still...

They all(carriers) do it. Dont get me wrong i love at&t but for years every few months id get a bill with a few dollars in mystery charges added. Now if u multiply those few dollars by 1/3 of at&t's customer base times 12 months u get over one billion per year in unearned income. Chump change for at&t so why? Greed i guess. Sorry at&t. I still love ya baby.

Being a T-Mobile customer, I can tell you that this is an outright lie. I have never had a carrier that is as open and up-front about their charges (I have been with all of them). With T-Mobile, my monthly bill is exactly the same every month regardless of usage and it is exactly what they said it would be. Now, if I wanted to talk about Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint... I could not say the same thing at all.

Just because it didn't happen to you doesn't mean it didn't happen to tons of other customers. Are you really so self-centered as to think you make up all of T-Mobiles user base or that every customers experience is the same as yours?

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Sprint and Verizon let it go right through too, until you call and complain about it... At least, they used to... I couldn't tell you if that has changed of late

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Man all those years of sh#$ty customer service and Sprint only devices doesn't seem so bad. I wonder if sprint will have to pick up T-Mobile's etfs if merger goes through

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If T-MO gets fined for this (they will) then, they will find a way to get all the money back..........screwing the customers up.

I changed my carrier from T-Mobile to another company a little over a month ago. T-Mobile still charged me for the full month even though I cancelled with 17 days remaining on my old plan. When I called them on this I was told they would send me a $40.00 gift card and to call a number if I had not received it within 5 days. Its been over 10 days, no card, and you are put on hold when you call and never get to talk to anyone. Wonder how many millions they have made off of this scam.

It's not fair that if you don't live an a area covered by tmobile, they will still sell u a phone. And bind you to a contract; however they don't call it a contract, it an installment plan. Smh tmobile is horrible for this the only thing their offering me is cancel service on three lines and place the balances on one line. Therefore making me pay for phones I can't use. This is embarrassing and ridiculous! There is no service in my area and they're making pay for phones I can't use! Does anyone know what can be done to resolve this...I need my good credit and a cellphone I have children,...geese tmobile you guys are really uncaring!