New York City has filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan alleging T-Mobile used a slew of deceptive business practices against customers, violating the city’s consumer protection law. The city says it wants T-Mobile and its subsidiary Metro by T-Mobile to stop the illegal activities, pay penalties, and forfeit the revenue gained from the deceptive practices so that the court can create a restitution fund for victims. Metro by T-Mobile is the wireless carrier’s prepaid phone brand and previously was known as MetroPCS.
According to the city, T-Mobile and Metro, as well as other authorized dealers, “preyed on consumers” through a number of different tactics, including:
- selling phones at a discount, then unlawfully adding the tax at the pre-discount cost.
- selling used phones to consumers who paid for new ones
- using financing contracts with terms that added hundreds of dollars to the advertised price
- charging consumers mystery fees, and fees for unwanted services
- failing to provide legal receipts
The lawsuit also alleges that T-Mobile’s return policy was deceptive. On the Metro-branded website, T-Mobile’s return policy claims phones have a “30 day guarantee”. However, the fine print says phones bought in-store must be returned within seven days. According to the city, the phones can only be bought in-store.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement saying, “We are doing everything in our power to make sure that T-Mobile ends these deceptive practices and that customers who were taken advantage of get the restitution they are owed.” T-Mobile says that the accusations are “completely at odds with the integrity” of its team and the commitment they have to taking care of its customers and that it is taking the allegations “very seriously.”