Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson Orders T-Mobile To Change Advertising

Last month T-Mobile hosted an event called “Uncarrier.”  The term “uncarrier” was used to indicate that T-Mobile will not have subsidy pricing plans.  However the Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has ordered T-Mobile to change their advertising because their offer for no annual contracts are “deceptive.”

Ferguson and T-Mobile signed a court order that will ensure that T-Mobile ensures their commitment to change advertising in order to properly explain the limitations of the terms involved.  The court order will also offer “customers duped by the deceptive ads to exit their contracts with no penalty.”

“As Attorney General, my job is to defend consumers, ensure truth in advertising, and make sure all businesses are playing by the rules,” said Ferguson on his website. “My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm.”

Ferguson’s office identified that T-Mobile failed to disclose that customers that buy a phone with a 24-month payment plan would be required to stay with T-Mobile for 24 months or pay the balance owed on the phone to cancel the service.

T-Mobile is going to provide full refunds and cancel service for customers that bought hardware and a service plan through March 26th and April 25th.  T-Mobile is also going to pay the court costs for the Attorney General’s Office related to this investigation.  T-Mobile will contact customers that are eligible for a refund or cancellation.  If you think that you are eligible for the settlement, T-Mobile can be contacted at 1-877-746-0909 or 611 on a T-Mobile phone.

Below are the terms that T-Mobile agreed to:

– Misrepresenting that customers can obtain wireless service and telephone equipment without restrictions;  and

– Failing to disclose that customers who terminate their T-Mobile wireless service before their device is paid off will have to pay the balance due on the phone at the time of cancellation.

– Not misrepresent customers’ true obligations under the terms of its contracts for the sale of service or equipment.

– Make clear the consequences of cancelling T-Mobile service, including restrictions or limitations on cancellation; fees and costs; and early termination fees;

– More clearly state in all advertisements the true cost of telephone equipment, including the requirement the customer carry a wireless service agreement for the life of the 24-month financing plan;

– Instruct representatives to fully disclose obligations under the terms of its contracts, including developing a “Frequently Asked Questions” page; and

– Train customer service representatives to comply with the settlement within 21 days of signing.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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