New York City files lawsuit against T-Mobile for ‘rampant’ sales abuse of Metro customers

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T-Mobile has been hit with a lawsuit from New York City.

The lawsuit, filed this week, alleges that T-Mobile has engaged in “rampant” sales abuse of customers through its prepaid Metro by T-Mobile brand. New York City’s complaint says that it’s identified more than 2,200 violations by T-Mo spread through 56 stores in all five boroughs, including both authorized dealers and stores run by T-Mobile’s MetroPCS NY unit.

The complaint goes on to say that New York City has evidence that Metro by T-Mobile stores sold used or refurbished phones as new and also charged taxes that were excessive or even appeared to be “made up”. Those charges include “device change taxes” and “device activation taxes”. Additionally, T-Mobile is accused of working with third-parties to enroll unsuspecting customers into financing plans without their consent.

One example cited in the city’s complaint involves a woman who thought she bought a phone for $599 but then later found out she’d signed up for a 12-month lease that cost $2,191.30. New York City also argues that Metro by T-Mobile’s website advertises a “30-day guarantee” but that that’s a deceptive offer because the fine print says that it only lasts seven days and covers a “small sub-category” of transactions.

In its lawsuit, New York City is seeking to recoup overcharges and apply civil fines of $350 to $500.

T-Mobile has declined to comment on the news of this lawsuit.

 

UPDATE: T-Mobile has said that it’s taking the lawsuit “very seriously” and is investigating the matter. “What we are seeing alleged here is completely at odds with the integrity of our team and the commitment they have to taking care of our customers every day,” a T-Mo spokesperson told CNET.

 

Thanks, James!

Source: Reuters

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  • Android_God

    Daaaaamn!

  • Nate

    Well, that is not good.

  • Shaun Michalak

    The 30 day things is T-Mobiles fault there.. But as for the phones, if it is an independently owned store, then it is not T-mobiles fault as they have no control over what independently owned stores owners do. They can only set the rules and hope that they follow them.. and if not, then revoke their store license, or fine them. Here, we have no corporate stores, nor is there one within a 2 hour drive (100 miles) of me either, which makes me think that very few of the stores are corporate, and most are independently owned.

    • marque2

      Well I think there are actually three types of stores. Carrier owned, Carrier franchised stores, and third party stores licensed to sell. Having lived in NY I would suspect it is these third party store – some of which seem to disappear days after you get the service.

  • RealShit

    T-Mobile has all the lawyers in the world. The fraud will continue and these little petty suits will go away, lol. Bet we won’t hear a single thing about this.

  • Mike Smith

    Metro stores are all franchises so this isn’t surprising at all. There’s probably an organized crime element. This is a great opportunity for T-Mo to get rid of the bad ones.

    • riverhorse

      I patronize 3 different corporate Metro stores. One has sleazy management and employees, another seems very straight & narrow(but very bad sales), another is who knows.
      I can pass for a cop, so i never see much.

  • riverhorse

    Attempting to translate all this, someone correct if in error:
    1. There are 3 types of stores- corporate, franchise, and independent authorized reseller. In over a decade I can’t recall a single of the former ever shutting down yet, Can’t say the same for the latter, which open and close left and right. I wonder how all manage to stay in business these days. They all used to boom but business has dived coinciding with downward spiral in quality of Metro phone selection available…to the point I don’t begrudge extra fees- phones and plans are already discounted enough comparatively speaking, so worried about sustaining business model.
    2. Tax always has been due based on entire pre-promo price, even when item is instantly rebated down to free. And in 10+ years of family plans in multiple states I can’t recall buying a handset that wasn’t discounted / have always paid beaucoup tax.
    3. Activation fee may mean sim card fee? This fee has always also been unavoidable, even with old handset in hand- one is always forced to buy new sim.
    4. At corporate stores have never received a positive answer to the query “Any refurbished / open box deals?” But other store types always have been willing to make deals.
    5. Financing phone does seem Rent-a-Center type dicey aimed at poor credit types. But signage warns that it’s provided by an independent entity not Metro, at full not promo price, and that interest is involved.
    6. No questions asked full return has been within 3 days / under one hour airtime utilized, after that fees / prorata is involved?
    7. The rest is buyer beware, like everywhere- buy a promo item, store will try to upsell to compensate. You can leave store having purchased significant addons like insurance and oodles of costly guards, cases, etc. And / But it is a prepaid service, so customers will need considerable funds even when phone discounted to nothing: the month of service, new sim, full taxes, etc.

    Time will tell whether this is political grandstanding, has legal merit(ie re full taxes charged), or is just a few bad apples.

    • marque2

      I think you are on to something. I would guess it is third party stores which resell Metro. I highly doubt TMobile or even franchise stores are doing this. It is probably one of those marketplace type stores that seem to sell every brand of service at once

      • riverhorse

        I actually cast aspersions on the corporate stores- they have never provided open box specials(one actually states they don’t do those deals- so where do the returns go?), while the independents readily/transparently do.

        • marque2

          They don’t do open box specials precisely because of the issues stated in this suit. Too much hassle. Even online TMobile has stopped selling used phones. I believe most of the usedn phones are sent to India and Southeast Asia for sale and some to repackagers who sell on eBay.

        • Bklynman

          Well the other 3 big sell open box/refur .phones without a problem,maybe not in their stores but online they do. Tmo just took down their refub.sec.on their site,they had Samsung Galaxy J3 Star – Certified Pre-Owned going for $600. Had I believe Sam S6(Maybe s7),going for $456.00,sent tweet to them ,thought they would only fix the prices on both phones,but I told them about J3,now both are gone.

  • Brenden Morris

    I’m a former employee from 2017 that worked in an Actual T-Mobile store & I saw some of this happen. The managers just care about money & there bonus check each month. I quit because I felt T-Mobile was so shady about stuff and hiding fine print from the customer. As long as we could get there signature & bundle in as much as possible and get people to Add A Line. T-Mobile is so focused on “Add A Line” because it boosts there “subscribers” numbers, making them look bigger than they really are.

    • JT

      So True, they come out good promo but always want stores sell something higher rate plan to boost up their numbers . If stores don’t hit their numbers corpore will be on your ass all day ….PS. If you have insurance, better check how much. So many customers have iphone 6/7 and still paying $14 a month… $15 on a iphone X is reasonable but on a iPhone 6 or Note 5 !!! you can buy a iphone 7 for $250

      • marque2

        I don’t know guys – every time I have purchased from a TMobile store I have gotten exactly what I wanted or less (in a good way – hey if this phone is only temp for two weeks the $120 LG – it will work as well as this more expensive one.) I have purchased at TMobile stores in 4 different states with zero issues.

        In fact even though I’m some locations I get zero reception (Tucson) I stick around and only grumble a bit because the customer service at stores online and by phone have been so good.

    • Bklynman

      Now it makes sense with all these add a line specials!!

      • Brenden Morris

        T-Mobile twists it and says each “Line” is a customer. But 1 person could have 3 Lines….1 Cell Phone, 1 Apple Watch & 1 Tablet. T-Mobile tells it’s investors it has “3 customers” based off that. Making the company seem as if they are bigger than they really are. The more customers….the more investment opportunity the company has to make more money. That’s why T-Mobile tries to get people to add lines all the time. It’s a disgusting sales trick we were taught while working at T-Mobile.

        • JT

          So right, and the prepay number are the most BS. When numbers are deactivate (No refill) it will still show as activate account in system for 6 months..

        • Bklynman

          Since I have 3 lines,one tablet,2 phone lines(55+)plan,that 3 ppl I am count as then. That insane!!