The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today that it is investigating complaints that T-Mobile billed its customers for millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party subscriptions and premium text messaging services.
The FCC investigation comes on the heels of an announcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it has filed suit against T-Mobile, charging that the carrier “crammed” charges for third-party services into the phone bills of millions of customers.
While the FTC can go to court and, if victorious, demand that the wireless carrier return millions to its customers, the FCC has the power to bring charges and fines against T-Mobile.
“Consumers should not be charged for services that they did not order,” said Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, in a statement Tuesday. “We will coordinate our investigation with the FTC, and use our independent enforcement authority to ensure a thorough, swift, and just resolution of the numerous complaints against T-Mobile.”
The FCC says that “numerous” T-Mobile subscribers have filed complaints with both the FCC and the FTC, alleging that unauthorized charges for unwanted third-party services were added to their bills.
The unwanted charges were for things like ringtones, wallpapers, and text message subscriptions to services providing horoscopes, flirting tips, and celebrity gossip.
During the past four years, the FCC says it’s taken nine enforcement actions against companies for cramming that have totaled more than $33 million in proposed fines to the U.S. Treasury.
T-Mobile has not responded to calls for comment.