FTC charges T-Mobile over unwanted premium SMS features

FTC accuses T-Mobile of fraudulent SMS service

FTC accuses T-Mobile of fraudulent SMS service

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a legal complaint against T-Mobile USA, accusing the wireless carrier of charging its customers for so-called premium SMS subscription services without their knowledge or permission. In its complaint filed Tuesday, the commission added that T-Mobile allegedly pocketed 35 percent to 40 percent of the amount charged to its subscribers for sending premium SMS services such as horoscope information, flirting tips, and celebrity news, which often cost US$9.99 a month. The agency has referred to these services as “scammers.”

The FTC has alerted T-Mobile years ago about its allegedly fraudulent practice called cramming, which involves adding charges to phone bills without customers’ consent and approval. However, the telecom company continued to bill customers for these so-called scammers, according to the agency.

While the FTC has yet to give an estimate of the number of T-Mobile subscribers affected, and the amount the wireless carrier allegedly siphoned from them, the agency has said it received “oodles of complaints” about it.

“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 in statement.

T-Mobile is denying the charge, calling it “unfounded and without merit.” The wireless service added that it stopped billing for the premium SMS features last year and even provided full refunds to “any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want.”

Source: Computerworld

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