T-Mobile: We Shouldn’t Be Sued Over Bill-Cramming Because We’re Not Doing It Anymore & We’re Super-Sorry

Earlier this afternoon, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against T-Mobile, alleging the wireless carrier made hundreds of millions of dollars off of bogus premium text-messaging charges “crammed” onto customers’ bills. The response from T-Mobile CEO John Legere isn’t exactly what you would describe as contrite.

“We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit,” writes Legere. “In fact T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want.”

So there you go, America. T-Mobile shouldn’t be sued for something it made a mountain of money from because it is no longer making that mountain of money and it’s offering refunds to customers who “feel” they were charged for something they didn’t order.

Legere — who struts around in a leather coat, crashing his competitors’ parties, has a history of making grandiose statements about his company and blatantly mocking his much bigger competitors, and who recently used the word “rape” in reference to AT&T and Verizon — calls the FTC suit “sensationalized,” which is a bit like Bob Hope calling Bing Crosby dead.

Legere comes across like the snotty teen who got caught doing something wrong and then cops an attitude when he’s told that “I’m no longer doing it” does not wipe away the transgression.

In speaking with reporters after today’s announcement, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained that the agency “did engage in settlement negotiations with T-Mobile, but were not able to reach a settlement.”

Here is the entire statement from Legere, presented in appropriately colored text:

We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit. In fact T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want. T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors.

As the Un-carrier, we believe that customers should only pay for what they want and what they sign up for.” said John Legere, CEO T Mobile USA. “We exited this business late last year, and announced an aggressive program to take care of customers and we are disappointed that the FTC has instead chosen to file this sensationalized legal action. We are the first to take action for the consumer, I am calling for the entire industry to do the same.

This is about doing what is right for consumers and we put in place procedures to protect our customers from unauthorized charges. Unfortunately, not all of these third party providers acted responsibly—an issue the entire industry faced. We believe those providers should be held accountable, and the FTC’s lawsuit seeking to hold T-Mobile responsible for their acts is not only factually and legally unfounded, but also misdirected.

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  1. SingleMaltGeek says:

    Yes, they’re so sorry and they completely stopped cramming third-party services onto customers’ bills. Instead they now “cram” their own plans by not giving you what you explicitly asked for, and then not letting you change it until the END of the billing period.

    I must have told the T-Mob rep 5 times that my old phone was so sucky that I never used data, and so I wanted to start out with the SMALLEST data plan and increase it if I found that I needed it. I have no idea if anything I signed specified the data plan because it took them two and a half hours to set up service and activate my phone, by which time I was dying to get the hell out of there. But the kicker is, I checked my online account right away, and when I saw the error I immediately changed my plan. However, the account said the change was “pending” for over four weeks, until the end of the billing period.

    I complained and got a refund, but I think with both of these scams they’re counting that not everyone will notice, and of those that notice, not all of them will complain.

    I’m still sticking with them because they offer services I want, and honestly they’re no more incompetent or dishonest than any other carrier, and I’ve had cell service with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon.