The Federal Trade Commission has accused T-Mobile of falsifying millions of US dollars’ worth of bogus charges to subscribers’ accounts.
According to the formal complaint filed earlier today, July 1, US network provider T-Mobile has been partaking in the questionable practise of “third-party billing” – also known as “cramming.”
This shady going on essentially sees charges for ‘premium’ SMS subscriptions, such as horoscopes, dating apps and gossip updates, added to users’ bills without authorisation.
It has been suggested that T-Mobile made anywhere between 35 and 40 per cent of the total fee from these premium services on kickbacks from the hosting companies.
“It’s wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs the charges it was imposing were fraudulent,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said.
She added: “The FTC’s goal is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges.”
Although yet to be proven, the FTC has claimed that these bogus charges have been added to bills largely unnoticed for years, repeatedly overlooked and ignored by the network.
The FTC argues that T-Mobile made it intentionally difficult for customers to discover these bogus charges, with many of those requesting refunds often kept waiting.
According to the FTC complaint: “T-Mobile in some cases continued to bill its customers for these services offered by scammers years after becoming aware of signs that the charges were fraudulent.”
The FTC is seeking to obtain a court order which would not only prevent T-Mobile from engaging in mobile cramming, but force the network to refund millions of dollars’ worth of charges to consumers.
"We definitely want consumers to get refund but we have not determined how they will get them," FTC Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said during a conference call about the lawsuit.
She added: "Consumers should read their bills closely and quickly contact their carriers if they see any unauthorised charges."
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