- Oct 20, 2009
- Reaction score
WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission sued T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS -0.06%on Tuesday, accusing the wireless carrier of adding hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus charges to subscribers' bills as recently as December.
In a civil complaint filed in federal court in Seattle, the FTC alleged that T-Mobile charged consumers monthly fees for third-party services that in many cases the subscribers hadn't ordered. These included ringtones, wallpaper, and text messages providing celebrity gossip and horoscopes, the agency said.
The complaint alleges that T-Mobile continued to charge for the services even after large numbers of subscribers complained. The FTC said the company typically retained 35% to 40% of the fees. T-Mobile pocketed the highest percentage of fees for services most likely to generate refund demands, the agency said.
T-Mobile called the suit "unfounded and without merit," and said it abandoned the business of providing billing services for third-party vendors last year. The company said it has started a program to give consumers full refunds. It also said it has procedures in place to help customers avoid unauthorized charges. But it added that some third-party service providers acted irresponsibly.
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