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Sprint fined $3 million for not telling customers about their poor-credit fee

According to the FTC, Sprint put customers with lower credit into a special program that required them to pay an additional $7.99 fee on top of other charges but did little to inform these customers as to why they were required to pay extra.
By
October 22, 2015
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Poor credit can certainly make life hard when it comes time to buy a home, get a credit card or loan, or even rent a new place to live, it can even affect folks looking to get a postpaid phone plan. One of the carriers known for approving even those with lower credit scores in the US is Sprint, but now they are coming under fire from the FTC for how they handle these customers.

According to the FTC, Sprint put customers with lower credit into a special program that required them to pay an additional $7.99 fee on top of other charges but did little to inform these customers as to why they were required to pay extra. Or if they did give notice, the notice was too late for Sprint subscribers to switch to another carrier (like after the 30-day cancellation policy ran out, etc).

In order to settle the matter, the FTC is asking Sprint to pay a $2.95 million fine, pending court approval. FTC is also asking that Sprint customers ensure that they are giving early and immediate notice to customers with lower credit about the “low credit fee” and why they are being placed into such a category. Sprint has neither confirmed or denied any wrong doing on their part but does say they will be sending “correct notices” to consumers that felt they got incomplete ones in the past.

While it is understandable that Sprint would want a little extra from poor credit consumers, due to the additional risk they are taking in approving them and allowing them to buy subsidized phones, it’s the fact that Sprint was unclear on its charges that the FTC is really upset with. What do you think, is Sprint in the wrong here or do you feel that as long as they gave eventual notice, that was good enough? Unclear notice aside, what do you think of the $7.99 low-credit fee, a fair price to ask?