In accordance with a decision rendered by the Washington State Attorney General, T-Mobile is sending letters to customers who purchased service and equipment between March 26th and April 25th. Customers who bought service and equipment between those dates can get a full refund for the purchase of the equipment and cancel the plan without being required to pay the remaining balance owed on the device.
T-Mobile agreed to contact those customers who made purchases in-between those dates and as of yesterday, appears to be sending out the letter via email in groups. The terms of the letter follow below the text of this and according to a quick question on the @tmonews Twitter account, at least a small group of you have already received the letter.
Along with the letter, T-Mobile agreed to:
- Not misrepresent customers’ true obligations under the terms of its contracts for the sale of service or equipment;
- Make clear the consequences of cancelling T-Mobile service, including restrictions or limitations on cancellation; fees and costs; and early termination fees;
- More clearly state in all advertisements the true cost of telephone equipment, including the requirement the customer carry a wireless service agreement for the life of the 24-month financing plan;
- Instruct representatives to fully disclose obligations under the terms of its contracts, including developing a “Frequently Asked Questions” page; and
- Train customer service representatives to comply with the settlement within 21 days of signing.
While T-Mobile should have made the terms of their service more transparent from the get-go, one can’t help but look at the politics of the Washington State decision. It just so happens that the state Attorney General, Bob Ferguson has received campaign funding from both AT&T and Verizon. It doesn’t hurt that Ferguson will seek re-election one day and might want to draw on the coffers of AT&T and Verizon to help fund his next campaign. I’m not suggesting this was a pure political move done at the behest of AT&T, but there’s plenty of room to suspect that Ferguson may have had an agenda in his quest to slap T-Mobile on the wrist.
In a brief statement sent to eWeek, T-Mobile responded to the decision by saying it voluntarily agreed to the decision:
“Our goal is to increase transparency with our customers, unleashing them from restrictive long-term service contracts,” according to a T-Mobile spokesperson responding in an email to eWEEK. “While we believe our advertising was truthful and appropriate, we voluntarily agreed to this arrangement with the Washington AG in this spirit.”
Full text of letter to T-Mobile customers:
Dear T-Mobile® Customer,
This notice is being sent to you pursuant to an agreement between the Washington State Attorney General’s Office and T-Mobile. Please note: wireless service is required to maintain your phone or device payment plan. If you cancel wireless service, all remaining payments become due, and will be charged to you in a lump sum on your final bill. You will no longer be able to make monthly payments.
Because you may not have understood this aspect of your telephone or device purchase, we are giving you an opportunity to return your phone or device for a full refund, including the down payment. You may do this by calling T-Mobile at 1-877-746-0909 (or by dialing 611 from your T‑Mobile phone) within 30 days and returning your phone or device as instructed. You must return your phone or device within 14 days of cancelling service in order to receive a refund. If you return the phone by then, you will not be required to make any additional payments.
For more information, please call T-Mobile at 1-877-746-0909 (or dial 611 from your T-Mobile phone).