T-Mobile US CEO says FTC accusations are sensationalised

John Legere, CEO at T-Mobile US, has scorned claims from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the mobile operator has been reaping the benefits of fraudulent messages sent to its customers.

Earlier this week, the FTC filed a complaint in a Seattle court, alleging that T-Mobile charged users for unauthorised ‘horoscope’ and ‘celebrity gossip’ text messages – costing consumers nearly $10 per message – and collected as much as 40% of the income despite clear indication that they were scams.

“It is wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs that the charges it was imposing were fraudulent,” said Edith Ramirez, chair of the FTC, in a statement.

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

T-Mobile responded by saying that it tried to put consumer protections in place, but many third-party vendors acted irresponsibly, and in June, prior to the FTC complaint, the company said it would reach out to customers and offer them a chance to request a refund.

“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 said in a statement.

In a blog post yesterday, Legere said that the FTC had sensationalised the story at the expense of both T-Mobile’s reputation and his own.

“T-Mobile has in the past and will continue to keep our pledge to bill customers only for what they want and what they have purchased for as long as I am CEO of this company,” he wrote.

The FTC declined to comment to Reuters.

T-Mobile has been advancing its US operations and last month, was said to be reviewing alternative options for acquiring spectrum if its proposed merger with Softbank’s Sprint falls through.