T-Mobile settles “cramming” lawsuit for $90 million

T-Mobile-HQ-645x483

Earlier this year, the FTC filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile for its allegedly sneaking “bogus” charges for premium services on to customers’ bills. This was just around 8 months after the carrier announced that it would end Premium SMS content, and a month after it announced a program to retroactively refund any customers charged.

Today, government officials announced that T-Mobile has settled the FTC lawsuit for $90 million. This figure includes money being returned to subscribers who can show that they have paid unauthorized charges and around $22.5 million in fines.

FTC Chariwoman, Edith Ramirez stated that “consumers should be able to trust that their mobile phone bills reflect the charges they authorized and nothing more.”

So far, Verizon is the only carrier not to be sued or charged with “cramming”. Sprint has recently been accused of the same practice, and AT&T settled a similar suit with the FTC back in October.

Via: Re/code

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  • neospade44

    Verizon don’t need to cram, they are already overcharging like no tomorrow.

    • tony

      its true verizon wireless dont need to cram its customers, they pay in heavy overages data fees, if you go over your data limit its $20 per gigabyte.

      • Android_God

        That’s not cramming though. Thank you for emphasizing how unethical the uncarrier was though.

    • tony

      also at & t charges $15 per gigabyte if you go over your data limit, both dont throttle your data.

    • Android_God

      Perceiving a company as expensive is one thing but accusing them of overcharging is another. just because one doesn’t like the fact that they are more expensive doesn’t mean they are overcharging.

      • Mr Paul

        What, do you work for Verizon? They viciously overcharge; expensive was an understatement before Verizon got to the new level of greedy after they got rid of unlimited plans.

        And although not a quote, VZW has basically said they do it because they can, and like Sprint, they’ll have a line of blind followers and fanboys lined up, ready to happily pay for mediocre or non-existent service.

        Verizon is hands down the greediest and most corrupt telecommunications company in the country and if not the world. AT&T is cheaper than Verizon in almost all scenarios and they are also clearly overcharging. Companies do not need to make 60-100 billion dollars for some know-it-all to come and defend them.

        T-Mobile is also overcharging to compete; they charge more than Sprint for unlimited data, and they do not offer more affordable options. Instead of the “data strong” network offering 1/3/5/unlimited data, they should just offer a limited amount for those who prefer a bargain like 5GB, being their average user uses, what give or take 3-4GB they said? And then unlimited. 40 for 5GB data and or tethering, 65 for unlimited and 15GB tethering, boom; no better deals on the market. What’s their response? F everyone who uses 1GB of data, continue hiding the 512MB and 5GB/100 minutes plan, and now some rollover data plan for 3 and 5 GB users. Wouldn’t this theoretically make it more cost-effective to stop using unlimited data as many people will just use as needed and start rolling over more and more data? I see what T-Mobile did there. Unlimited obviously isn’t working out, otherwise they’d do like either AT&T or Sprint. AT&T: Pull out and make excuses, or Sprint: Offer only unlimited for postpaid.

        I love AT&T’s network and coverage, but it doesn’t mean them less evil than they or especially Verizon are.

        • Henry K

          Verizon has a great network tho. I like t-mobile and use t-mobile because the coverage is great in my area and I rarely leave Chicago but the few times I did travel I experienced some spotty service. My friend who has Verizon had full bars everywhere we went. So this is what Verizon customers are paying for. Sure it’s more expensive but for some people it’s a must have like my friend he is a truck driver and is constantly on the road he depends on cellular service that is good no matter where he is.

        • Mr Paul

          That’s true to some extent, but they are charging you much more for a service that is almost never better than AT&T, making Verizon not a better deal in most cases.

    • Take the goggles off

      Is that why my Verizon service works everywhere TMobile doesn’t work for me?
      Funny I’ve never had TMobile service and lacked Verizon service.

  • cvgordo

    so will everyone get some sort of credit or how will we know? admittedly i rarely look at my bill. i know the ballpark of where it should be and that’s about it.

    • Android_God

      I could be wrong but I believe this was one of those things where you have to file a complaint in order to get any reimbursement.

  • shadlom

    Are they gonna restore carrier billing though?

  • Chris

    Now, we just need a class action lawsuit to T-mobile.
    It seems like they keep saying that “JUMP” is not automatically added when you get a phone from them.

    Their store reps on the other hand tells me that “it’s automatically added”.
    So who’s lying?

    I don’t want JUMP on my lines because if I want to buy another phone It would’ve been better for me to save my $10 a month and use that to buy the newer phone or at least add to another set of savings.

    • Terry

      They added it to my phone as well, when I got a new one. But they told me that I needed to simply go onto the website and cxl it off. so I did that. No jump on my lines at all.

      • Chris

        yes it won’t be a problem if you would’ve cancelled it right away. But what happens if you didn’t get to it right away because the rep didn’t mention that she “automatically” added JUMP to your line. You would’ve been charged the prorated for the amount of days it was on your line. I know someone that this happened to.

        I love T-mo; I love the prices; I love the service I get. But the hassle of trying to remove an “optional” feature is not good especially on someone that has 7 lines.

    • thepanttherlady

      Call customer care or remove it online. It isn’t required but they will try to insist it is. Purchased my Nexus 6 in store and the rep told me first she’d never sold a phone without it. Then she switched it to phones require insurance when purchased on EIP. I told her it absolutely wasn’t required and stood my ground.

      Paid the tax, signed the EIP and left. No JUMP! or insurance added. :)

      • Android_God

        I’m assuming you were in a corporate store but wanted to clarify…
        I was shocked to learn how non corporate stores can so closely resemble a corporate store. We have a tmobile store at our local mall and its not a corporate store but no way could you tell the difference.

        • thepanttherlady

          No, non-corporate store.

        • Android_God

          Figures! IMHO this kind of nonsense happens more when it’s a non-corporate store.

        • Ginger917

          Not true. Corporate stores it happens all the time also. They go as far as telling you to be at some ridiculous % and the only way to achieve that constantly is to lie or just add it in. If you do not hit that % then they make your job very difficult. Doesn’t sound Uncarrier to me.

        • Android_God

          Dang!!! That sucks!

        • Dakota

          Yep

      • Chris

        I removed it online. But what I’m trying to get at is the practice that the reps got into by adding it “automatically”. They used to ask. But like comments above said, the reps are probably trying to meet their quotas. This is for people who probably never wonder why they have an additional $10 in their bill. This is for the reps that don’t even ask. They don’t even ask now a days. Last time I bought a new phone (for one of the other lines on my account), I had to tell them that I don’t want JUMP on it. And the rep said “Oh, sorry about that, it’s automatically added. The system added it.”

        Imagine if I was one of the customers that didn’t care about the additional $10 per line. I have 7 lines. That would be an easy $70 for them. But like I said, I don’t see the need for JUMP so a courtesy from the reps to at least ask would’ve been nice.

    • Zach Weyls

      As an RSA I can put this to bed it is not required at all!!! It is a good idea depending on how may devices you have and monthly payments but not required. Any rep who tells you its auto is FLAT OUT LIEING. I will say in my district we have a strict you need to be at 90% JUMP rate or else but still not required.

      • bob90210

        “I will say in my district we have a strict you need to be at 90% JUMP rate or else”

        And you wonder why sales rep lie to achieve 90%

      • Android_God

        90%?!?!?!?!?! PLEASE tell me that you made an error with this!

        • Chris F

          As a former RSA, i can tell you it is not a lie. 90% jump! And 80% extra data. Crazy hard numbers to hit consistently.

        • Zach Weyls

          That’s correct spot on actually. It’s all ridiculous honestly.

      • Android_God

        What a waste to the environment! All these discarded phones end up in landfills because some douchebag hipster needs to replace his phone every 6 months. young people the entitled generation.

        • philyew

          There is an un-hipster rationale behind the Jump program as well. Since TM are expanding their network using new and re-assigned bandwidth (LTE bands 2 and 12) it makes sense to TM to allow customers to buy new devices without worrying whether they will miss out on new network capabilities as they become available.

      • Chris

        It’s a double edge sword though. If someone keeps trying to achieve the ridiculous measurement by lying, then technically you aren’t really performing to the said measurement. The company needs to see that it’s a ridiculous performance measurement and that it needs to be changed. If they keep seeing that sales reps are “achieving” that quota, then they have no reason but to raise it in a few years. What’s stopping them from raising it from 90% to 95%? The customers would be the one suffering from this.

    • bob90210

      The sales reps have impossible quotas on jump so they say that jump is required or just add it without the customers knowledge. The managers look the other way or enforce the practice since it makes their numbers look good. The corporate office sets the impossible quotas knowing that the reps use dishonest tactics to reach the quota since people paying for jump that will never use it is pure profit.

    • philyew

      There is a separate contract for Jump which is not a part of the normal EIP agreement. Some store reps do add it without that service being discussed or agreed upon (happened to me), but it’s indefensible without the contract and they have to, and we’ll, reimburse any charges… Assuming you spot the charge, which is easy enough on the current bill.

    • Csr

      It’s not automatically added. I’m a tmobile csr for five years now and store reps add it on all the time without customer consent because they bonus on add ons. Typical tmobile bullshit won’t change.

    • Maybe John Legere should go on the show “Undercover Boss” to see how managers treat the employees by forcing Jump on customer’s plans.

      • bob90210

        John Legere knows full well what the sales managers and sales reps are doing. That’s why the quotas are impossibly high.

        And the show is fake anyway.

    • Augustiny

      Dude I was in line behind you and I totally heard you ask to add Jump. You part of the government conspiracy against TMobile. I don’t want lose my $30 plan yo so quit tripping you know how limited those Obama phone plans that were here before he could vote on bills! I already owe grandma money cuz I keep coming up with $25. When the data buckets come to prepaid Imma be gigabyte rich.

  • This is just a government agency extorting money for an over indebted government. This lawsuit has never had any merit.

    • bob90210

      The lawsuit is to punish T-Mobile for stealing customers money.

      • philyew

        The thing is that TM had already outed themselves and were engaged in a program of reimbursing customers when the FCC stepped in.

        At the very least it is disingenuous to claim responsibility for money being paid back to customers. All that the FCC actually achieved was extracting a $22m penalty.

        • bob90210

          The FTC was already investigating T-Mobile when started the reimbursement program. They were giving the money back because they knew that they were busted.

          The fine is to prevent them doing it again. Or at least make it unprofitable since profit is what companies care about.

        • philyew

          Where is the evidence for this time line?

          TM began a program notifying customers of possible overcharging in July 2013 and announced that a reimbursement claim website had been set up in a press release on November 21st 2013.

          The FCC announced they were investigating TM on July 1st 2014 – the day after the reimbursement program closed.

          TM shouldn’t have had a fixed closing date on the program, but the FCC would have had to have been running their investigation for a year or more in order for it to have pre-dated TM’s voluntary program.

          I know the wheels of bureaucracy can turn slowly, but why wait virtually a full year after TM’s public acknowledgement of the issue to make public the FCC’s own initiative, if it did indeed begin in the first half of 2013?

        • ReadAround

          FCC has evidence on TMobile dating back to 2009
          The wait has been because TMobile has tried to fight the charges and deny any wrongdoing even though evidence shows TMobile had a 40% cut of the charges crammed

        • philyew

          With respect, the FCC had evidence based on customer complaints pre-dating the beginning of the investigation – that goes without saying because, without it, there would be no investigation… but that doesn’t indicate when the investigation actually began.

          What is the source which confirms that the FCC investigation was already active in July 2013, when TM began their reimbursement program?

        • bob90210

          On Nov 21, 2013 T-Mobile announced that they will no longer bill or accept premium sms charges.

          On Nov 21, 2013 45 state attorneys general announced a settlement with T-Mobile (along with Sprint and AT&T) to stop premium sms charges.

          On June 10, 2014 T-Mobile announced they will refund customers that were charged for premium sms.

          On July 1, 2014, a few weeks later, the FTC filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile for charging customers for premium sms.

          So, do you think that T-Mobile is refunding the money out of the kindness of their heart?

        • philyew

          The announcement on 21st November 2013 linked to a document in the support site of the same date that talked about refunds.

          The announcement in June talked about a proactive program from TM, but that wasn’t their first mention of refunds.

          The issue I was addressing was whether the federal authorities, through their investigation, could claim credit for customers being reimbursed. I still see no definitive evidence that the FCC investigation into TM predated the latter’s move to make refunds.

        • bob90210

          From Nov 21, 2013 announcement:

          “Can customers request a refund?

          Customers have always been able to request a refund. We encourage customers to check their monthly bills and to contact customer service if they see a charge they did not authorize.”

          This is not a refund program. This is calling customer service to complain about charges on the bill.

          The lawsuits references internal T-Mobile’s documents so starting a refund program three weeks before the government filing a lawsuit to requiring refunds is enough evidence to me that T-Mobile knew what was coming so they started to refund the money so they look like the good guys.

        • philyew

          I’m referring to a different document, but as it’s been amended subsequently, I too don’t have a definitive statement about what TM were proposing in November, but the press statement at the time alluded to some activity, even it was “only” an encouragement for customers to submit applications for refunds.

          The settlement involving TM, AT&T and Sprint in November 2013 was the result of an initiative from most States’ Attorney General’s Offices, not the federal authorities at the FCC or FTC. If TM began any kind of activity to promote refunds in November, it was as the result of the States’ initiatives.

    • Android_God

      Oh brother I would LOVE you to cite a source for this! Super excited to see your source!

      • lisa bonaventura

        So how do we get refunded?

        • Umkay

          Did you have charges?
          You could google TMobile Premium Charge refund.
          Cam posted an article about it also I believe some time back

        • lisa bonaventura

          Thank you, I will do that!

      • Since T-Mobile had already begun to refund customers of its own initiative, this suit was a waste of time, but profitable to the tune of $22 million to the FTC. Nothing changed for consumers, but T-Mobile was robbed by the government.

        • bob90210

          I see you’re okay with people taking your money if they give it back years later when they get caught.

        • The people who took the money were not TMUS, but those providing premium SMS content. TMUS took the initiative to take the money back form them and refund its customers, who were mostly responsible for the charges to begin with. TMUS did right by the consumer, but the FTC didn’t. How easy is a plea out of a suit against a company that’s already acted to undo the damage to less than smart consumers? Just drop the feigned righteousness just because it’s a government agency committing racketeering.

        • Android_God

          Holy phuck but are you that stupid? T-Mobile GOT A CUT! That’s why the FTC accuses them of making it difficult for customers to realize what they were billed for. Do you need crayons and a white board to understand this?

        • Android_God

          You aren’t from the US are you? I ask this because you have no idea how the government works.

        • You must be a product of the American public school system, the worst among developed countries, because you believe in the myth of angelic government inculcated into you at sixth grade in civics class.

        • Android_God

          FCC? Sure about that? you’re responding to me yet you’re not citing your sources from your original argument. Interesting!
          you’re wasting everyone’s time here.

        • If you’re just utterly lazy or stupid or both to verify such information in the article itself, it’s your fault, not mine. Go away, troll.

        • Android_God

          I see. You EDITED out YOUR ERROR and acted as if you never made the error.

          You make a ridiculous claim and when asked for a source you cry like a little bitch and call me a troll. Well played sir

    • Time for a new username

      Same guy that wants TMobile to give out Uncarrier perks on the $30 prepaid plan???

  • D_Wall__

    There goes some spectrum purchases…

  • Ordeith

    Good. Now we can move on.

  • landmarkcm

    I strangely have had a major problem ever since I have been back with Tmobile the last 3 bills now! with them charging me directory assistance calls at 1.99 a pop, That I never made. It’s been like up to just under 16.00 worth & they supposdly opened a ticket and said they were valid lol. One agent and a sup even had the nerve to pretty much tell me they didn’t believe me. I have NEVER made one call to 411 I have told them and why would I when there are other resources. If I really need a number theres even 800 free 411. Anyway as I type this novel now, The last agent this morning told me no worries and he gladly credited me for them. I told him look I don’t want to have to leave you over this & file an fcc complaint or something. Anyone else had this problem specifically with 411 calls showing that were never made..? & PS lol no one used my phone either..

    • philyew

      You don’t have any 411 apps on the phone that could have inadvertently triggered connections? TM’s own 411 & More app for example results in standard charges.

      • landmarkcm

        Hey. Nope as it was Nexus 5 & then now I’m using 2nd Gen Moto G. Both of which Im assuming you know come with no carrier bloat.

        • philyew

          Do you have the 411 number in your contact list? I had a problem from pocket dialing with my Nexus 5 to the point that I had to install a Call Confirm app to intercept pocket dialed calls.

    • Csr

      Your a moron. When you make the calls to 411 your phone and sim connects to the network switch. 100 percent you made the calls. Idiots like you say your innocent so much you believe your own lie.

      • landmarkcm

        LMAO. Really troll much..? I shouldn’t even bother replying to you. I guess you can’t read. I would gladly pay them if I made them. There is no need to call 411 these days.

      • JUST A LIL MORE JUMP

        Your a Moron says a TMobile Rep after putting on Jump insurance after being told no by a customer!
        Maybe thats why TMobile 4th???

      • ssjchaseutley

        You’re*

    • Not A TMobile Rep

      Do they show up on your call detail online or on your paper bills? That be first place to start for both sides to remedy the situation. Can you add a block to 411?

      • landmarkcm

        Hi there. Ya they show in the usage area online. The funny part about that too is that some of the dates and times I was working or sleeping etc. They did put the block actually already as well, So hopefully that solves that mystery :)

  • Michael Lynady

    The un financially backed carrier gets hit again – good grief

  • Dean Smith

    I have been TMO customer since 2002 and still am. How do I exactly find out how much I was ripped off all these yrs? Is there a site that will tell me? I am not trying to be greedy, just wanted to know if and how many times I have been paying the cramming charges.
    Thanks

    • I’m Not Greedy Just Lazy

      You could check your bills???
      Did you ever notice any unauthorized charges???
      Do you look at your bills before you pay them???
      You need a website to find out if you’ve been crammed or not WOW

      In no way am I trying to defend TMobile cramming of any sort but don’t you have any responsibility as a customer to make aure your paying what you agreed to?

      • MarylandUSA

        It’s not that simple. Do you think an unauthorized charge will be listed in plain English with titles like “Unasked-for premium text service”? No. They’re masked in vague language designed to seem like a legitimate charge.

  • I would love to see John Legere on the show “Undercover Boss” just to see how certain stores force “Jump” onto customer’s plans.

    • Analog Spirit

      They did that to me once recently, about 4 months ago. They added JUMP even after I had clearly and specifically asked them not to. They fixed it pretty quickly after I (politely) asked them to, but still… When I say “I don’t want JUMP on my plan,” it means precisely that. Not “add it anyway, and hope I won’t notice.” That’s just wrong and I’m glad this issue is starting to get some attention and (hopefully) get dealt with.

      • Needs More Jump

        So what your saying is you want Jump on your plan? JkLol

    • yaby2979

      You think they don’t know? You can’t be that stupid!

      • No shit, I know that. But with John’s colorful foul language, it would make a great comedy show to see his reaction. Even if it is staged for the show.

  • David

    I’m with Dean Smith. I have been with T mobile since 2001 and still am. How can I find out if I got bogus charged all these years. Please help me.

    • Stone Cold

      Go log in on mytmobile should be on the right hand side of the screen and they mailed something out a few months ago.

  • Allen Enriquez

    I got my funds back on Oct-November ish it was for a total of $30.00!

  • shabang

    cam is an idiot who is refusing to run the FORCED MIGRATIONS STORY..tmobile is screwing a lot of us and this idiot won’t talk about it..why not??

    this is a news site for the PEOPLE…

    cam is acting like he’s working for tmobile here… I don’t like this..time to #makenoise people

    • Stone Cold

      This is the unofficial Blog. But the migrations were announced in the early part of the year. It was written about. But if you are that unhappy there are other carriers to choose from.

    • philyew

      Here’s an example of Cam “not” talking about this issue, from back in October

      http://www.tmonews{dot}com/2014/08/some-legacy-plan-customers-being-moved-to-simple-choice/

    • Guest

      Forced migrations…huh?

  • Cupcake

    Sorry but I check my bills EVERY month and I’m not letting even 50cent get past me if its not legit. Not taking away Tmo’s blame but the customer needs to pay attention to their money. If enough customers had complained along the way, maybe there wouldnt be a lawsuit right now…Tmobile may have caught and resolved the issue back then. IJS….

  • Actually, Verizon was the first of the carriers to be prosecuted on cramming charges. That case was settled in February 2012.