back to article FTC: T-Mobile USA took '$100s of millions' in bogus txt charges

T-Mobile US has been accused of hitting customers with bogus text-message charges running into hundreds of millions of dollars. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit against the carrier, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened an investigation. The agencies alleged the company allowed users to be …

Anonymous Coward

Obviously the competition is getting too hot for AT&T and Verizon!

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Federal Stooges

Of course, this doesn't have anything to do with AT&T getting upset that Legere was calling them out for immoral business practices so very recently. To be perfectly frank, I don't think anybody is on the side of the consumer here. There isn't enough competition to allow for a serious diversity of choice depending on geography, hardware preferences, etc, and the watchdog agencies that decide to sue for more fair practices are just causing the companies to pass the cost of lawsuits and "oversight" straight to the already locked in consumer.

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And just when T-Mobile was looking at a merger too, which might have given Verizon and possibly AT&T new headaches. This might just put that merger on hold.

Oh.. and let's not forget his "Those other guys f***ing hate you. They don't love you customers the way we do." speech recently. I guess he didn't love us either?

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Mushroom

flame on

Sadly under Baby Boomer management these days fiduciary duty in general has come to mean a responsibility to screw over customers as hard as legally possible and that means sometimes the line gets crossed. Its always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission is several corporations unofficial motto these days.

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Four good letters...

RICO

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Complaints

A major vulnerability that lets these (alleged ) abuses take place is that the customer service/complaints departments of most large companies now work exactly the same way, by a sequence of avoiding, fobbing-off and then ignoring complaints.

We've all been there.

You have a grievance.

Stage 1; there is no direct contact, or else maybe just a lowlevel phone handler who runs through a script and then tells you that he/she's very sorry but there's nothing more they can do.

So instead

Stage 2; there is the web page that requires you to know/set up a user account to access, then starts by giving you a link saying "contact us". But this doesn't actually have a way to contact them, just a link to

Stage 3. a set of FAQs. None of which are what you want to complain about, because all of them are low hanging fruit responses.

The next step (Stage 3a?) is often to refer you to a forum. Which is where you can let off steam sharing your grievance with lots of other people who haven't got anywhere either.

If you can avoid that you may then get to

Stage 4 a webmail form for your actual complaint.

This will be answered by a robot, which will refer you back to stage 3, even stage 2.

There are of course variations on this. My current favourite is that I have an email address to get to a customer service team. Which was answered by a person, who says that for security you need to log-in to make your complaint she/he can't go through this route until you do that. Which is nonsense, since there is nothing in the complaint that they can't verify through information given to the low level call handler at the time of the original phone call (stage 1). Logging in puts you back at stage 2 again. A bit like throwing a fish back into the river. Where it is well beyond the reach of the customer service team. (Yes, I mean you Virgin Mobile).

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Re: Complaints

Just to add to that, the practice of passing you around various agents who use the Chinese Whisper get-out. You never get the same agent twice and your original complaint is watered-down or otherwise modified in each transaction until unrecognisable from the original.

Rinse....Repeat....

eBay are the best (worst?) example of this. Never the same agent twice, problem never resolved. 8 years now and counting.

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Re: Complaints

I'd add another strategy, which I hit only this morning ( though not for the first time).

They offer to "pass your complaint on to the department".

You say you want a practical ( and probably simple and easy) restoration.

And they say they "can't" do that.

Not won't, which would at least be honest.

But "can't".

Like it's written in the laws of the land that they can't refund/discount/replace etc.

Or maybe the replacement is on a high shelf and they can't reach it.

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So about those other companies raping consumers...

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Stop

Unfortunately

not all none of these third-party providers acted responsibly

FTFY

// I'm sure there were one or two legit companies in there somewhere

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No incentive

With the carrier taking a slice of the loot, they're reluctant to deal with it because they'd then lose the dosh they've got for acting like the getaway driver. Just make it difficult, and hope that the amount of money the customer's been robbed isn't enough to want them to escalate the complaint.

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Out of court setllement

T-Mobile US moved quickly to condemn the suit as "unfounded and without merit."

Funny how they always deny up front and then usually end up settling out of court at a later date. What $BigCorp never seems to realise (or care about) is that an out of court settlement might leave things legally grey and they can claim not have been convicted, but the consumer always sees that as an effective admission of guilt.

I'd like to to see more governments, public bodies, regulators and ombudsmen take these cases all the way to a judgement more often instead of taking the easy way out and letting $BigCorp buy their legally innocent positions.

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WHO EVER CLAIMED TELCO'S WERE HONEST (except telco's)

If you read the book FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS NOT, written by an ex-telco man, you will have your eyes opened.

It's out of print but there is an on-line copy in the Library of Congress.

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