T-Mobile CEO John Legere late last week tried to reframe the discussion around the FTC’s allegations that the carrier bilked hundreds of millions of dollars from customers through premium SMS charges.
In a blog posted to T-Mobile’s website, Legere bemoaned the beaucracy of goverment, arguing that T-Mobile had been unfairly targeted.
“While I love our democracy, I hate the way D.C. works some times, and I just could not sit still and let them get away with it,” Legere wrote, adding that he needed to bring the focus of the discussion back to “the only thing that matter…CUSTOMERS!”
Legere went on to deny that T-Mobile was participating in any kind of “cramming” practices. He acknowledged that all of the larger U.S. carriers engaged in billing for third-party premium texting services from a period between 2009 and 2013. However, he claimed that T-Mobile had made the decision to terminate those services in November of 2013.
“Despite the exaggeration of the FTC, this was neither a big nor important business for us, and their financial claims are incredibly overstated,” Legere wrote. “Additionally, those third-party content business operators are pretty much out of business. This was an easy Un-carrier decision!”
Legere said that back in June, T-Mobile created a initative called the Proactive Refund Program, which will reach out to all potentially affected customers, current and past.
The FTC claims that T-Mobile took in 35 to 45 percent of the revenue from SMS services like “flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip” that typically charge $10 per month. The Commission also alleges that T-Mobile continued collecting money off these charges even after it had reason to believe the charges were fraudulent.
“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.”