Washington State Attorney Gen. Orders T-Mobile to Fix False Ads
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is ordering T-Mobile to correct its deceptive advertising.
Ferguson says the phone company promised no annual contracts while carrying hidden charges for early termination of phone plans.
The Attorney General's Office has now filed a court order, signed by T-Mobile and effective nationwide, forcing the company to clearly communicate the limitations of its new "no-contract" wireless service plans. The phone company must also give customers (who were fooled by the deceptive ads) an opportunity to exit their contracts without a penalty.
Ferguson says in T-Mobile's "new type of wireless service plan," the company claimed to offer no restrictions, no annual contract and no requirement to serve a two year sentence. However, the "new" plan doesn't include a phone. Instead, the company gives the customer the option to purchase a phone at a monthly rate over a two-year term. T-Mobile also allows you to bring your own phone or pay the entire cost of the phone up front.
After an investigation into the company's practices, the AG's office found the company failed to disclose that customers who bought a phone using a 24-month payment plan must carry a wireless service agreement with the company for the entire 24 months, or pay the full balance owed on phone if they cancel earlier.
T-Mobile is cooperating with the Attorney General's Office in signing an Assurance of Discontinuance, and has agreed to the following:
- Misrepresenting that customers can obtain wireless service and telephone equipment without restrictions;
- 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.
All consumers who purchased T-Mobile service and equipment between March 26 and April 25, 2013, may obtain a full refund for their telephone equipment and cancel their service plans without being required to pay the remaining balance owed on their devices- as long as the customer cancels their service per the terms of the agreement.
The company is required to contact consumers who purchased telephone equipment under the terms of their new business plan to advise them of their right to cancel and obtain a refund. Consumers can call T-Mobile at 1-877-746-0909 for more information or dial 611 from their T-Mobile telephones.