Did T-Mobile managers direct workers to overcharge customers accounts?

by: William Neilson JrJuly 9, 2014

ftcbuilding-e1354748196126 TheNextWeb

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an official complaint alleging that T-Mobile made millions from allowing third-party companies to bill customers for Premium SMS services. The FTC alleged that T-Mobile received anywhere from 35 to 40 percent of the total amount charged to consumers.

A significant portion of the complaint centers around whether T-Mobile continued this practice after becoming aware of this issue and whether bills were intentionally long and confusing so as to hide the Premium SMS charges.

cramminggraphic (1) FCC.gov

T-Mobile responded to the FTC by claiming that the allegations were “unfounded and without merit.” T-Mobile also said that they stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and that they launched a program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want.

T-Mobile has in the past and will continue to keep our pledge to bill customers only for what they want and what they have purchased for as long as I am CEO of this company! NO EXCUSES!” – John Legere, T-Mobile.com

Stop AlphavilleHerald

Now, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) has released a statement claiming that they tried to tell T-Mobile about this cramming practice. In a released statement, the CWA notes that in January 2013 they approached T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom to alert them that T-Mobile US managers weredirecting workers to add charges to customer accounts.”

The CWA then claims that T-Mobile fired a number of front-line employees who said they were working under direct orders from managers. CWA also states that at a T-Mobile shareholder meeting in June 2013, a CWA activist spoke directly to former Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann and current T-Mobile CEO John Legere about T-Mobile cramming issues and got nowhere.

exp.nr.cell.phone.charges.cnn.640x360 CNN

I still am left to wonder why exactly that the FTC is not also going after AT&T and Verizon for cramming actions in the not-so past. As Karl Bode notes over at DSLReports, AT&T flat out lied to the New York Times when asked whether they profited from cramming charges:

Why does AT&T allow Wise Media to show up on its bills? Is it because AT&T is taking a cut of the revenue generated by Wise Media?

Nope, said (the AT&T spokesperson).

Really, asked the Haggler?

Really, said (the AT&T spokesperson).

Could you double-check that, (we asked)?

She could, she said.

The next day she sent this e-mail, also quoted in its entirety:

“AT&T has no further comment at this time.” – New York Times

AT&T and Verizon have faced numerous class actions lawsuits due to cramming complaints. Several years ago, it took a little push from Congress to get AT&T and Verizon to no longer allow third party charges on landline networks and even that only occurred three years ago.

Of course, AT&T and Verizon love to tell people that they stopped this practice “voluntarily” while in reality they were forced to stop the practice after receiving billions and billions in illegal charges.

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    We had To a few years back. Even though we were unlimited, no two bills were ever the same. Asked a couple of times, but the answers were less than clarifying. But, I still wish them well, and welcome to Softbank.

  • AndroidBrian

    I had these charges on my account close to a dozen times. Sometimes it was easy to remove. Other times it was difficult. I had one T-Mobile rep tell me there was no way he can remove the charge because T-mobile didn’t make the charge. I asked T-Mobile reps numerous times to block these 3rd party app charges. Every time they said they blocked it, but I still saw the same bs random charges on a future bill. I thought something was fishy back then. This confirms it. GUILTY!!!! I want reparations!

  • Hellz

    wow you people in US are so poorly protected as costumers. here in EU we have association for protection of costumer rights and anything any seller does wrong if reported to them they help you with FREE legal aid. oh deutsche telekom are the scum of the world, here we know it. seems its time for US to find out about it