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New York Sues T-Mobile Over MetroPCS Marketing

New York State has filed against T-Mobile over its Metro PCS low-cost wireless offering, charging abusive sales tactics.

That is according to a copy of the complaint filed in the New York State Supreme Court, which was obtained by ArsTechnica.

The state is seeking a jury trial.

The suit comes as the FCC is expected any day to approve the deal, which the Justice Department has already said can go through under certain conditions, including spinning off Boost Mobile, Sprint's prepaid offering.

"At least several dozen have sold used phones to consumers as though they were new, charged consumers for fake taxes and unwanted services, or enrolled consumers in expensive financing plans without their consent," the State told the court. "And the abuses do not end at the store. The Metro website, which is owned by T-Mobile and emblazoned ith the 'Metro by T-Mobile' logo, deceives consumers about its stingy return policy: it advertises a '30 day guarantee' on all Metro cell phone purchases, but the fine print reveals that returns or exchanges are only available for a small sub-category of transactions, and only within seven days of purchase."

While T-Mobile billed the service as an alternative to "subpar" offerings from AT&T and Verizon, the state said " T-Mobile’s management of Metro ensured that 'subpar' was exactly what consumers received – only now with the veneer of name-brand dependability."

The FCC is currently considering an order approving the T-Mobile-Sprint deal, with MetroPCS becoming the combined companies' low-cost offering since Sprint's Boost Mobile is being spun off to Dish, which is envisioned to build it into a facilities-based carrier to provide competition to AT&T, Verizon and a T-Mobile-Sprint combo.

The deal has the public support of the FCC's three Republicans, so it will almost certainly be approved as soon as the deadline for Democrats to vote it has expired, after which they have either voted it or it is deemed approved without their votes.

A spokesperson for commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had no comment on the status of her vote on the item.

“We take these allegations very seriously and are continuing to investigate so we can respond to the City," said T-Mobile in a statement. "Though we can’t comment on the specific claims at this early stage, what we are seeing alleged here is completely at odds with the integrity of our team and the commitment they have to taking care of our customers every day.”