Tmobile Sued For Charging For Unwanted Text Messages

Tmobile was hit with a class action suit yesterday over its charging customers for unwanted text messages. Unscrupulous marketers can get your cellphone number, send you “premium” texts (for dating services, daily jokes, horoscopes, etc), and then have Tmobile bill you for them. Tmobile gets to keep a piece of the profit. Other cellphone companies let you disable text messages sent from the internet, where most text spam originates, or turn off text messages all together. Tmobile has refused to give customers this option.

Class action nails T-Mobile USA over texting services [RCR Wireless News]


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  1. JGB says:

    It’s about time.

    I have been a T-mobile customer since they were voicestream. I got my daughters phones when they were old enough and that is when the text messaging trap became apparent. I tried getting them “limited” texting plans, but, of course, I had no way of enforcing that on their friends. One month my bill for texting alone was over 300 dollars. I asked them to disable that feature and they refused. Told me that they needed that open so they get in touch with their customers “in an emergency” (to date, I have never received a text from t-mobile) They made some comment to the effect that I needed to monitor their behavior better or upgrade to the unlimited plan. I pointed out that more than half the messages were incoming and their only suggestion was that I should change phone numbers “frequently” (which they charge to do)

    I finally was forced to get the unlimited plan, but it still makes me angry.

  2. remusrm says:

    i agree on this one… you do have a online filter but pretty much sucks…. they start to go the veringular way

  3. SVreader says:

    Seems like it should be illegal to send anyone something unsolicited that he or she has to pay for. Hopefully if the phone companies stop charging customers, the marketers will stop doing this. Actually, hopefully the marketers get sued too.

  4. missdona says:

    My household droped TMo over this very issue. We were happy to move on.

  5. Psqunq says:

    (disclaimer: tmo employee here) You are able to stop sms sent as email (to the email address). As for incoming sms, trust me, reps have been bugging the higher ups for this for a while, because , all we get told is that our billing system can’t handle it, if we disable the sms receive feature, it’ll cause billing problems).

  6. jamar0303 says:

    America’s so behind- charging for incoming text? What nonsense is that? Softbank in Japan has done it right- unlimited M2M, text and e-mail for about $9.80/month. I want to see that happen in America.

  7. UpsetPanda says:

    @jamar0303: I think the point was that these people didn’t have texting plans and get billed on a per message basis. Verizon billed me per message when I thought I had a plan, and the horrible CSR tech at the store didn’t add it on when I asked her to. It went unnoticed for the first month and I got refunded when I called Verizon. No premium texts but i got some ringtones and that counted as data. My texting plan includes text, pic text and e-mail, I think. For $5 a month.

  8. NotATool says:

    The whole concept of paying for incoming anything is wrong. I can’t control who calls me or who texts me. Why should I pay to receive?

    Ma Bell figured out a long time ago that the call originator should pay, not the recipient. So apparently the technology exists to do this. The cellphone companies love this double dipping though, so I don’t think they’re likely to change unless the government steps in and mandates it.

  9. darkclawsofchaos says:

    meh, I’m pre-paid t-mobile, and as a gold member, I only spend like $25 a year for 135 minutes. To be fair, I’m frank and quick when I’m on a cellphone, so 135 minutes may not be enough for a teenage girl.

  10. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: as for texts, I never really get any junk, in fact T-mobile only texts me once a year to remind me to fill up on minutes, before gold status I would be reminded every three months

  11. MissPinkKate says:

    I’m glad to see someone is holding T-Mobile responsible for this. Keep us updated on how to get a part of the settlement!

  12. Zimorodok says:

    @JGB: What “emergency” could possibly require your cell phone provider to contact you RIGHT THIS SECOND?


  13. joemama321 says:

    Whoever the turd was who had my number before me was apparently a customer of Jamster and some other similar service. They never cancelled the service when they gave up the number, but guess who was a new customer when TMo recycled the number? So I had $50 in charges over something like 12 texts that came in 5 days (or something about that ridiculous).

    I called and used the logic of: I’ve never sent an outgoing text from your service ever, much less to a service where I can overpay for ringtones. I can upload mp3’s as ringtones.

    They wouldn’t facilitate canceling future texts (but canceling that was actually easy), but they did reverse those charges.

    I just looked at Jamster’s website and it looks like you can order it online, so maybe I got lucky that TMo worked with me.

  14. upokyin says:

    Who made the graphic for this post? I love it!

  15. algormortis says:

    @Psqunq: hey, fellow T-mobilie! (i’m a hotspot equipment tech)

    in my days on the phone side i was told the exact same thing; it does something funky to billing. i think this might be because much of the billing system started out Omnipoint and that was years before there were color screens on phones much less polyphonic ringtones, the stuff that pushes the premium text scum’s method of attack…er, i mean service.

  16. ideagirl says:

    @Psqunq: I think we can all figure out exactly what kind of “billing problem” they’re talking about…

  17. Nytmare says:

    @joemama321: Maybe the previous owner gave up that number to get away from the spam.

  18. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @zimorodok: Hahaha! Awesome.

  19. Jthmeffy says:

    i have US Cellular.. Kinda shitty, but incoming text messages are free and you can message their own customers for free on their website.. That’s actually pretty ridiculous that they charge for incoming text messages. If you dont like someone and know they dont have an unlimited plan.. just text them a couple thousand times.

  20. Psqunq says:

    @ideagirl: Heh.

    Of course, I’m realistic, I’d think giving someone the ability to not receive sms messages would be LESS expensive than the cost to have the rep staffed on the phone taking the call from the customer, and unless the customer’s a total prick, going ahead and giving them a credit anyway.

  21. pigeonpenelope says:

    i understand why the lawsuit..


    here’s the thing, cell phones are still a luxury item. children do not need cell phones. i grew up safely with pay phones and so can today’s kids. if you cannot monitor your children’s usage and there is overage, it is your fault. if your children’s friends are causing your kids’ lines to have overage, talk to their parents. lets be realistic here… cell phone companies did not give that contract to your children because they are kids and are not responsible enough. therefore, if you give your phone to a kid, you are accepting responsibility.

    the part that i have thought is unfair is the older folks who don’t txt and who don’t have friends or family who text. those people feel punished when they get an unsolicited text.

    either way, there is some accountability people need to have. some people need to quit whining.

  22. memphis9 says:

    So happens I had my own text spam conversation with a T-Mobile CSR about a week ago – I am getting not huge volume but at least one text spam every few days with my new phone. The old one – almost none over 4+ years. And with T-Mobile, the old # “dies” with the old phone, unless you upgrade to a contract plan.

    T-Mobile won’t likely change on this until they have some serious competition pricewise and policy-wise on prepaid. But they WILL likely get that competition if the consumer keeps feeling the effects of inflation and wages that are declining in real (inflation adjusted) terms. All it takes is enough cheapos like me and we will constitute a market segment that is worth the trouble to compete over. At that point, my lousy $100/year or so may start to matter (in the aggregate) to T-Mobile, but they won’t win back my business just because they finally did what competition forced them to do.

  23. DeadlySinz says:


    America doesn’t want change in mobile entirely cause the cell phone companies control whats on and off on their branded phones so they control the services.

    its just profit to them they don’t care who they screw over in this game, if america changes the way Internet and cell phone services are done it’ll take them atleast 20yrs cause its just the way america works.

  24. magnoliasouth says:

    Glad to see someone standing up to T-Mobile. I knew that they would have to answer to their bad business choice sooner or later. I would’ve preferred sooner, but later is fine.

    I wonder how this would affect those of us with limited text messaging though. I pay for 400 per month and though I’ve never gone over that, I become infuriated when I get spam because I never agreed to allow it. One day I might just go over and then what?