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FTC: T-Mobile made millions in bogus charges

WASHINGTON (AP) - T-Mobile USA knowingly made hundreds of millions of dollars off its customers in potentially bogus charges, a federal regulator alleged Tuesday in a complaint likely to mar the reputation of a household name in wireless communications.

In its complaint filed in a federal court in Seattle, the Federal Trade Commission claimed that T-Mobile billed consumers for subscriptions to premium text services such as $10-per-month horoscopes that were never authorized by the account holder. The FTC alleges that T-Mobile collected as much as 40 percent of the charges, even after being alerted by other customers that the subscriptions were scams.

"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," said FTC Chair Edith Ramirez in a statement. "The FTC's goal is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges."

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a separate inquiry into T-Mobile's billing practices, which could result in fines if it finds any wrongdoing.

The practice is often referred to as "cramming": businesses stuff a customer's bill with bogus charges associated with a third party. In this case, the FTC says T-Mobile should have realized that many of these premium text services were scams because of the high rate of customer complaints. In some cases, the FTC says, as many as 40 percent of customers demanded refunds in a single month on certain services.

The FTC said one way for consumers to try to prevent fraudulent charges is to ask their providers to block all third-party businesses from providing services on their phones.

T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, T-Mobile US, Inc., is a publicly traded company. According to its website, Deutsche Telekom AG maintains a 67 percent ownership in the company's common stock.

Sprint Corp., the third-largest cellphone carrier, is in talks to buy T-Mobile US Inc., according to published reports. Analysts believe such a link-up would face stiff opposition from the same regulators who blocked AT&T from buying T-Mobile in 2011.

T-Mobile's stock fell 10 cents to $33.52 in afternoon trading.

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teeessiii July 01 2014 at 4:36 PM

This scam is typical of the scams pulled by our corporate executive criminal scumbag element. These are the same "job creators" Republicans want to keep in the zero tax bracket.

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20 replies
pearljam2 July 01 2014 at 5:11 PM

They are all crooks,Verizon as well

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7 replies
stengernc July 01 2014 at 5:02 PM

Put the top management in jail for 3 months, no cell phone, no computer, no nothing. Take away their bonuses for 3 years and make them wear signs around their necks....we don't care about our customers, greed is what we are after. The GOP wants less regulations and less taxes for their bums, screw the GOP and the super greedy 1%.

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11 replies
pwgilmartin July 01 2014 at 5:27 PM

The real test will be if the feds go after ATT

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6 replies
mitch0901 July 01 2014 at 4:34 PM

If you think T-Mobile is dishonest wait til you look at ASSURANCE - BOOST - SPRINT & VIRGIN MOBILE all the same company and really dishonest, with horrible customer service & unscrupulous practices that make this look insignificant - WOULD U LET YOUR DAUGHTER DATE SOMEONE WITH 4 DIFFERENT NAMES THEY USE AT DIFFERENT TIMES? well these 4 are all the same company - shell game? u bet!

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6 replies
lockworks07 July 01 2014 at 5:46 PM

They added $21 worth of fraudulent charges to my bill a couple months ago and I was told I had to email them for a refund. They didn't respond and when I emailed again the email address was dead. This company will take your money and make you fight to get it back. Bad people!

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3 replies
Wizard July 01 2014 at 4:27 PM

wow what a shocker, its the new era of ripping people off nothing new there, and now i'm gonna go back to watching WWll in color.

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2 replies
savannahswithgod Wizard July 01 2014 at 7:17 PM

Well learn from that , Greed across the Globe almost guarantees a WW3. And Phone companies will lead the way!

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frank.foreman Wizard July 01 2014 at 10:45 PM

Yeah , but if you don't get a phone - yurr fired. Solution : "would you please step over here for a moment?" Blammmmm !

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sindfetish July 01 2014 at 4:22 PM

I'm guessing post companies do this...and FEW get busted

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2 replies
sindfetish sindfetish July 01 2014 at 4:22 PM

most

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savannahswithgod sindfetish July 01 2014 at 7:21 PM

Yes and those that get busted find a new way to do it while the others toss them some bread to make that busted actually a profit. Was a guy that ran the scales all the time and they tried to catch that trucker and when they did he said, " no big deal, the times I have got by will take care of this and future this"!

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Mike July 01 2014 at 4:21 PM

WWII continues...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
savannahswithgod Mike July 01 2014 at 7:16 PM

Yeh but women Frau's from SS Amerika, win civil war here, then fight the Japs and Nazi's to save the world. PZ2 morphed version, campaign SS Amerika 2. Around 50 scenarios, need XP or Vista on the old laptop. Drop in, put it on your laptop and you can go from there. Should keep you busy a month and a half if you play it a couple hours each night. Got 9 other campaigns, you want to stay in WW2 for a year and a half? And of course it comes with a editor so you can make your own campaigns and mess with stuff.

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frank.foreman Mike July 01 2014 at 10:46 PM

(Mad Max) : kill , kill , kill , kill , killllllllll !

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darla.leigh July 01 2014 at 7:48 PM

Shut them down for good. Let it be a lesson to all the crooked cable, satellite and phone/internet providers that we are sick of them and their thieving ways. I will never pay for cable and choose over the air broadcasting instead. They are all liars and thieves.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Dale darla.leigh July 01 2014 at 8:59 PM

yep do away with all of them...take away these adult pacifiers and roadways would be so much better without the babies texting and driving...yep totally agree...

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frank.foreman darla.leigh July 01 2014 at 10:48 PM

Snore , these freaks have gotten away with the same old (sterile) tricks since the first cellphones were introduced. And the government agencies made huge money on them through the courts / cops / lawyers and judges. Frack them all.

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