T-Mobile settles "uncarrier" deceptive claims dispute with refunds and ad changes

Since its March 26 unveiling, T-Mobile has been aggressively pushing the plan changes it has made, alterations that it says make it America's "Uncarrier." Such claims were challenged in Washington, where the state Attorney General's Office initiated an investigation into the carrier's advertisements. The investigation resulted with T-Mobile being accused of making deceptive statements about its plans.

The issue at play is that T-Mobile makes claims that seem to be contradicted by the fine-print in its uncarrier plans, which are promised to have no restrictions and yearly contracts. Such is the case with plans that aren't accompanied by a cell phone, but not with plans where the customer gets a phone, which they are required to keep under T-Mobile service for two years or pay the device's full retail price upon dropping the service.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said of the matter: "In our view, those advertisements were quite deceptive." And one of the attorney's working the investigation, Paula Sellis, expounded on that, saying: "You had to dig very deeply to understand what the terms of the program were, and you had to put two and two together." T-Mobile doesn't agree with their conclusion, as you might expect, but has agreed to change its advertisements and to offer customers a refund.

Says T-Mobile:

As America's Un-carrier, our goal is to increase transparency with our customers, unleashing them from restrictive long-term service contracts — this kind of simple, straightforward approach is core to the new company we are building. While we believe our advertising was truthful and appropriate, we voluntarily agreed to this arrangement with the Washington AG in this spirit

According to Tech Hive, no customers complained about T-Mobile's claims and services, with the investigation being prompted by the advertisements the carrier put out. For its part, T-Mobile has to pay $26,046 in costs and fees, has agreed to make its consequences of cancellation, true costs, and terms more clear, and to train its staff within the next 21 days to provide this information. Those who subscribed to one of the uncarrier's plans by today are eligible for a full refund upon service cancellation.

[via Tech Hive]