T-Mobile has been playing the role of good guy in the wireless industry, but there are some who would rather see them as a villain. A consumer advocacy group has called the edgy company out for false advertising. Specifically, folks have an issue with T-Mobile’s language that contracts are no longer a thing. The group has caught the attention of New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who will investigate the claims.
T-Mobile generally presents that “perk” in a way that makes it sound like there are no longer any commitments to adhere to when buying a smartphone through them, but in many cases that isn’t true. Unless you buy your phone for full retail, you’re signing a contract — only now, the contract is to pay off the full cost of the phone in 24 installments. Should you end service with T-Mobile before paying those installments you’ll owe the amount on the phone due, which is not a service termination fee but still a contracted expense that is billed to you as a debt if you decide to leave T-Mobile before paying off the phone.
We can see how people would accuse this of being blatantly misleading, but T-Mobile would argue that the wording is just fine as long as they aren’t outright lying about their business practices. There’s a “contract” to pay the phone off, per se, but not for service itself.
It’s ultimately up to the consumer to do research and read those long sheets of paper they often sign without a second thought. That said, if the complainants can get T-Mobile to be less deceptive in their marketing than they currently are then that’s all they’ll need to consider this movement a win.
Otherwise, T-Mobile is likely to continue on with their aggressive and slick campaign that has helped launch them past Sprint to become the nation’s 3rd largest carrier (especially since CEO John Legere practically guaranteed that in his public response).
[via USA Today]