Last month T-Mobile switched to its new Uncarrier plans, but the Washington State Attorney General claims the carrier’s advertising for the new plans is “deceptive.”
A court order filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and signed by T-Mobile ensures the carrier will change its advertising to more accurately reflect its new plans. While T-Mobile’s advertising says users aren’t locked into two-year contracts like the other carriers, it doesn’t say that users will have to pay the full price of phones when they sign up for a Simple Choice Plan.
The Washington State Attorney General claims T-Mobile “failed to disclose that customers who buy a phone using the 24-month payment plan.”
When users buy a $99 iPhone 5 or a $149 Samsung Galaxy S4 from T-Mobile, they still have to pay for the price of the phone over a 24 month period. If the user decides to cancel their plan, they don’t pay an early termination fee like they would on AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, but they do have to pay the remaining balance of the phone’s price.
T-Mobile will offer to buy back devices, but users will still have to pay something if they cancel before they pay off their phone.
The only exceptions are when users choose to pay full price for their phone upfront or bring an unlocked phone like the unlocked HTC One to the carrier. Unlocked phones mean lower monthly payments on T-Mobile and no penalties for canceling plans before 24 months.
By signing the court order, T-Mobile agreed that it will change its advertising to more accurately reflect the types of plans it offers to its users including details on the 24 month financing plan for phones. The carrier must also tell representatives to fully disclose all obligations under the new contracts and develop a FAQs page.
Finally, T-Mobile must offer full refunds and cancel service to those who signed up for the Uncarrier between March 26 and April 25. Those who wish to remain on the carrier can, but T-Mobile will contact all customers to inform them of exactly what type of contract they signed. T-Mobile customers can also contact T-Mobile if they wish to cancel their plans.