T-Mobile allegedly jacked up customers’ phone bills with unauthorized charges, according to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday.
The mobile service provider is accused of engaging in cramming, which involves placing charges for services offered by other companies on a customer’s bill, netting T-Mobile a 35 to 40 percent cut of the illegal charges in the process.
Millions of dollars have been taken from T-Mobile customers through this cramming, ZDNet reports. Customers were charged for various SMS services delivering content like flirting tips, horoscopes or celebrity gossip, often with the charges buried within the large phone bills, which can be over 50 pages longer, making them difficult for the consumer to detect.
The FTC has made several failed attempts to reach a settlement with T-Mobile and is now resorting to filing charges.
“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 a statement from the agency.
However, T-Mobile CEO John Legere denied any wrongdoing by the company, placing the blame on the third-party services.
“We believe these providers should be held accountable, and the FTC’s lawsuit seeking to hold T-Mobile responsible for their acts is not only factually and legally unfounded, but also misdirected,” he said.
The FTC declined to comment on whether this issue would affect approval of T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint.