T-Mobile says its T&Cs prevent customers from suing over sale of location data


Remember a couple of months ago when we learned that T-Mobile and the other major U.S. carriers were hit with a class action lawsuit related to the sale of customer location data? Now T-Mobile has responded to the suit against it, saying that its customers can’t sue.

T-Mobile has argued that the customers involved in the location data class action lawsuit can’t sue T-Mo because of the terms and conditions that they agreed to. “By accepting these T&Cs, you are agreeing to resolve any dispute with us through binding arbitration or small claims dispute procedures (unless you opt out), and to waive your rights to a jury trial and to participate in any class action suit,” T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions reads.

T-Mo says that both of the two plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit, Shawnay Ray and Kantice Joyner, agreed to the terms and conditions when becoming T-Mobile customers. “In doing so, they agreed to arbitrate on an individual basis any dispute related to T-Mobile’s services and to waive their right to participate in a class action unless they timely opted out of the arbitration procedure outlined in the T&Cs. Neither Plaintiff elected to opt out,” T-Mobile argues. “Accordingly, Plaintiffs have brought their grievances to the wrong forum and their claims should be dismissed in favor of arbitration.”

You can opt out of T-Mobile’s arbitration procedures by calling 1-866-323-4405 or by visiting www.T-Mobiledisputeresolution.com. However, lots of folks probably don’t bother reading the terms and conditions when they sign up for wireless service.

Cory Zajdel, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said that they plan to pursue the case despite T-Mobile’s arguments. “T-Mobile’s motion to compel arbitration proves that T-Mobile does not want any fact-finding to take place in a public forum on the issue of whether it sold users’ exact location without consent,” Zajdel told Ars Technica.

The complaint against T-Mobile was filed in early May. In it, the plaintiffs say that T-Mobile violated section 222 of the Federal Communications Act, saying that T-Mobile failed to protect the confidential personal information and customer proprietary network information of its subscribers.

The complaint is in response to some of the location data issues that the four major U.S. carriers have been involved in recently, including one in which a bounty hunter was able to get a screenshot of the Google Maps location of a T-Mobile customer’s phone after being paid $300. This location data originated from T-Mo and was sold from one party to another before ending up in a bounty hunter’s possession.

T-Mobile put an end to the location aggregator agreements related to these scandals back in March. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have all said that they’ve ended their own agreements as well.

Via: Ars Technica
Sources: T-Mobile (1), (2)

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  • arandomperson7

    UnCarrier was fun while it lasted

    • Prode

      Every major company has these. These people suing T-Mo just want some extra money to see if they can win. It also sucks because T-Mo will just raise the prices on its customer to recoup the the cost of the lawsuit.

      • Eric Davila

        Or if you’re like me, you found out about T-Mobile selling your data for profit after the 30 days has elapsed. On the website, it says you can’t opt out after 30 days. Almost nobody reads nor got time to go over the T&C agreement. Even if you, many times you would need legal consultation (which isn’t free) to know what most of it means. I got T-Mobile just to get cellular service, I didn’t agree that it was ok for them to sell my data profit to whoever they deem fit. That’s not ok. But to your point on the raising cost, this is why I’m against the merger and you’ve just explained why I don’t defend stuff like this on the behalf of any company. They don’t have your interest, it’s all money. So I agree with the case going forward. It’s the only way they’ll listen

        • Prod1702

          I am for the merger because I want better service and faster speeds that I know this merger will bring. I trust T-Mo to not raise prices for 3 years. I understand that it might take 3 years to merge the networks but in 3 years, T-Mo would of raised prices either way. ATT and Verizon are to big for T-Mo to go against in the long run as well as sprint doing the same thing. The two company’s coming together can help fix that, and from the looks of it there will be a 4th carrier with the way things are going anyway. In the case of jobs. If Sprint keeps going the way they are, a lot of people would lose their jobs anyway. Hopefully if both company’s come together, this will help lower what that number would of been.

          No mater what company you deal with, they are going to sell your data in someway. ie Facebook or any social media. In this case the only people that were affected by this are the people that bounty hunters were looking for. (or this is what it looks like to me) I am happy that T-Mo gave the information for them to be found since there was a reason to find them. No mater what you do, or where you go, someone is going to get some of your data. It doesn’t matter how much you protect it. I am not ok with any company selling my data but there is nothing I can 100% do to stop all of them. So all I do is try my best to stop it but I know it is going to happen no matter what I do.

        • Eric Davila

          I’m not sure if it was you that flagged my comment as “spam”, but I see how easy it is on this to flag comments. You can literally flag and say “I disagree with this user”, and block any rebuttal from view until the moderator decides to reverse the decision. Seems like a flaw in that could lead to easy exploitation

        • Prod1702

          Nope sorry wasn’t me. I just looked at my email for the day. While I get your points on the removed comment, I feel that Tmobile will do the right thing. I worked for them for 6 years and while I hated being a sales rep at the end, they do care about customers. Or so they seemed to make us think they do. Tmobile needs to improve their over all coverage still a lot and I am hoping if the sprint merger does get approved, it will help. I am fine with what I pay now since I am on the military plan, have 6 lines on Tmobile one military with my line having an iphone Max on JOD with unlimited tether and only pay 170 a month. To me that is crazy good. Over all I am happy and would be willing to pay a bit more maybe 10 or 20 a month to keep what I have but better coverage if I could get it.

        • Eric Davila

          That’s cool. I’m on the military plan with 7 lines, so yeah I get its cheap. I didn’t want to accuse, I just didn’t know it was that easy on this site until I looked into it but didn’t submit the flag request for a random comment. For profit companies by design prioritize profits first, and good PR helps to feed into those profits. I never worked for T-Mobile, but I do work for FedEx. While my senior manager has professed how the company cares about its customers, the recent actions like when my company decided to terminate its shipping agreement with Amazon shows the monopolistic practices of large companies. If you don’t know, Amazon has its own same or next delivery service, but it also uses our next day service. They’re competition. So what does FedEx do instead of competing? They terminate the shipping agreement with the overnight deliveries, which would cause Amazon to likely have to depend on its on delivery infrastructure that is still relatively new. That would either cause some companies to fail, but in Amazon case, it would likely slow them down. Then again, after Amazon bought Whole Foods, they dropped prices below market cost to price out the market. That way, they could eliminate the competition, and even force them to sell. That was both anti-consumer and anti-small business. So for me, “feeling” is not good enough. I prefer to look at our countries history with dealing in these large consolidation efforts. So yeah, we would disagree

  • John Doe

    But what if you signed up to t-mobile before they added the arbitration clause?

    • JG

      Usually there’s a clause in the T&C mumbo jumbo that no one reads and always blindly accepts that state you agree they are able to update the agreement whenever they want/need. When that happens, if you continue to use their services, it is assumed you agree to the new conditions and have given your consent to them.

      So if you have continued to use T-Mobile after they added the arbitration clause, then you’ve agreed you will be forced into arbitration rather than suing the company unless you opted out of that particular clause within the 30 day window.

  • JJ

    Wow, i really like tmobile and don’t plan on leaving any time soon but this is so low and scummy. But sprint and verizon did something similar years ago during other lawsuits. Its the way big companies do it.

  • Adam

    Now that T-Mobile has decided not to compete on terms of service, they better have the lowest price.

    I recently changed jobs. After verbally agreeing on a salary, the company sends be a binding arbitration contracts to sign. I immediately complained that this contracts was not disclosed during negotiations. At this point, I know the company has sunk cost in the hiring process and would have to start from scratch if I walk, so I demanded a raise. Thanks you lawyers for my fatter paycheck.

  • genretv

    The arbitration folks are often best buds with their clients and some judges are aware of this and will throw out the clause. They’re just a means for the corporations to screw over their customers.