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T-Mobile: FTC Suit Is Political, Exaggerated

T-Mobile is chalking up the Federal Trade Commission's suit against the company for allegedly "cramming" bogus charges on its bills to lobbyists and Washington politics as usual.

In a blog posting Thursday, T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere said that the FTC exaggerated and overstated the case. 

The FTC says the company continued to take a cut of hundreds of millions of dollars in third-party billing charges for purported premium subscriptions that were "in many cases bogus," the FTC said, and never authorized by its customers.

"We all got to see Washington politics and the big carrier lobbyists at their best," he wrote. "I hate the way D.C. works some times, and I just could not sit still and let them get away with it. The FTC certainly did a good job of sensationalizing their story and their news at the expense of both T-Mobile’s reputation and mine."

"T-Mobile is NOT participating in any form of cramming, stuffing charges for un-purchased services, or trying to be anything less than totally transparent with each of our customers. PERIOD!," he said.

"It is true, that back in 2009 thru 2013, all of the big carriers in the wireless industry, including T-Mobile, began carrying what became known as the Premium SMS services," he said. "We were all billing for these services on behalf of the content providers who were responsible for obtaining the customers’ authorizations. As we all know now, there were some fraudsters in that bunch. That is why, as we found them, we terminated them and, ultimately, made the decision in November 2013, as did all four of the wireless companies, to eliminate this from our service offerings. FULL STOP!"

"Despite the exaggeration of the FTC, this was neither a big nor important business for us, and their financial claims are incredibly overstated. Additionally, those third-party content business operators are pretty much out of business. This was an easy Un-carrier decision! As the Un-carrier and its CEO, it is important to me that consumers know that T-Mobile can always be counted on to do the right thing!" T-Mobile has marketed itself as the alternative to traditional wireless companies, much as 7-Up branded itself as the "Un-Cola" in an iconic ad campaign.

An FTC spokesman declined to comment.