FTC v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., No. 2:14-cv-00967 (W.D. Wash. July 1, 2014).
The FTC alleges in its complaint that T-Mobile charged consumers for these various monthly text message subscriptions purportedly offered by third-party merchants that, in many cases, were not authorized by consumers. The complaint alleges that T-Mobile deceptively described these charges on its phone bills in a manner that made it difficult for consumers to uncover them. For example, for consumers who reviewed an online summary of their bills, the complaint alleges the third-party charges were lumped together in a line item labeled "Use Charges" that could include charges for both T-Mobile's own services, such as for text messages, and for third-party charges.
Additionally, according to the complaint, T-Mobile continued to charge consumers even after becoming aware of telltale signs that the charges were unauthorized. The complaint alleges that T-Mobile's internal documents showed that consumers were increasingly calling T-Mobile to complain about unauthorized third-party charges; that large numbers of consumers sought refunds and the refund rate for some subscriptions was higher than 40% in some months; and that T-Mobile continued to charge consumers for third-party merchants for years after those merchants were the subject of law enforcement or other legal action for cramming.