T-Mobile’s Chief Blames FTC Charges on ‘Big Greedy Carriers’

“Un-carrier” CEO John Legere calls the government’s lawsuit “unfounded.”

T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere speaks at a news conference at the 2013 International CES at The Venetian on January 8, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 11 and is expected to feature 3,100 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.
National Journal
Laura Ryan
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Laura Ryan
July 1, 2014, 2:29 p.m.

T-Mo­bile CEO John Legere says big lob­by­ing is be­hind a fed­er­al law­suit ac­cus­ing his com­pany of scam­ming cus­tom­ers.

The Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion sued T-Mo­bile on Tues­day for mak­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars from un­wanted charges on cus­tom­ers’ monthly phone bills—a prac­tice known as mo­bile cram­ming.

In a series of tweets Tues­day, Legere sug­ges­ted that the big car­ri­ers, such as AT&T and Ve­r­i­zon, had a hand in the FTC charges.

“So this is how the big car­ri­er lob­by­ists in Wash­ing­ton work! Hey FTC did you lose Ran­dall’s ad­dress?” Legere tweeted, re­fer­ring to AT&T CEO Ran­dall Steph­en­son.

“Looks like lob­by­ing work of big greedy car­ri­ers!” he ad­ded.

The T-Mo­bile CEO, who is known for his col­or­ful lan­guage, de­fen­ded T-Mo­bile in a blog post Tues­day, say­ing the com­pany stopped these un­wanted charges last year and is act­ively work­ing to re­fund cus­tom­ers.

“T-Mo­bile is fight­ing harder than any of the car­ri­ers to change the way the wire­less in­dustry op­er­ates and we are dis­ap­poin­ted that the FTC has chosen to file this ac­tion against the most pro-con­sumer com­pany in the in­dustry rather than the real bad act­ors,” Legere wrote.

Ac­cord­ing to the FTC, T-Mo­bile knew about the un­wanted charges—for ser­vices like flirt­ing tips, horo­scope in­form­a­tion, and celebrity gos­sip—but con­tin­ued to place them on con­sumers’ bills any­way. T-Mo­bile took a cut of 35-40 per­cent from the charges, which were of­ten dif­fi­cult to no­tice on bills, the FTC said.

“It’s wrong for a com­pany like T-Mo­bile to profit from scams against its cus­tom­ers when there were clear warn­ing signs the charges it was im­pos­ing were fraud­u­lent,” FTC Chair­wo­man Edith Ramirez said in a state­ment.

“The FTC’s goal is to en­sure that T-Mo­bile re­pays all its cus­tom­ers for these crammed charges.”

COR­REC­TION: In an earli­er ver­sion of this art­icle, the name of AT&T CEO Ran­dall Steph­en­son was mis­spelled.

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