A total of three labor unions in the United States are charging that the third biggest wireless carrier in America is guilty of unethical business practices. Furthermore, the trio, which consists of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union and the United Farm Workers of America, are utilizing their consumer advocacy group, called Change To Win Retail Initiatives, to file a complaint against T-Mobile for conducting false advertising and placing its subscribers on services they never signed up for, like smartphone insurance plans, for instance.
What makes matters worse for T-Mobile (who interestingly does not have a unionized workforce) is that the complaint was filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with the advocacy group specifically requesting that the government agency look into the matter and if necessary, take some disciplinary action. If the FCC does act on this, things could be bad for the wireless carrier.
For a couple of years now, T-Mobile has been trying to shake up the industry by introducing new takes on how wireless services are delivered. Indeed, it has gotten rid of carrier contracts and subsidies for handsets, and even began offering unlimited video streaming perks to its subscribers via its Binge On feature (not without some controversy though). Its efforts may have paid off, allowing T-Mobile to gain over 27 million new subscribers since early 2013, making the wireless carrier the fastest growing of its kind throughout the whole industry. In 2015, T-Mobile even usurped Sprint’s place as the number three mobile service provider in the United States.
But according to Change To Win Retail Initiatives, the reason T-Mobile got so many new subscribers was partly because it was signing up customers for services they never wanted in the first place. Whoops.
The advocacy group also pointed out that the wireless carrier’s no contract plans often require subscribers to either purchase an installment plan or lease a handset via T-Mobile, but once the user ends the service, he still has to bear the unpaid cost of the handset, whose amount can go over a two year agreement’s early termination fee.
And speaking of early termination fees, Change To Win Retail Initiatives is also attacking T-Mobile’s ads that state that the wireless carrier will pay the early termination fees for users switching from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, or Sprint. In reality, users have to pay for those fees upfront, and may have to wait for at least eight weeks or longer for reimbursement, with some customers claiming the refunds never came, which has negatively affected their credit ratings.
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