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Washington AG Hits T-Mobile For $99 iPhone Offer
Argues Company Can't Insist There's 'No Restrictions'
by Karl Bode 12:39PM Monday Apr 29 2013 Tipped by Jon See Profile
Washington State's Attorney General is hammering T-Mobile over the company's new no contract claims, insisting that the carrier is engaging in false advertising. Washington AG General Bob Ferguson seems to have taken particular issue with T-Mobile's promises of a $99 iPhone 5, which requires users pay $99 down, then twenty four monthly payments of $20. T-Mobile advertises this as "no contract," but customers still need to sign an agreement that they'll pay off the total owed.

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According to a statement from Ferguson's office, T-Mobile has signed an agreement acknowledging that the company was "misrepresenting that customers can obtain wireless service and telephone equipment without restrictions," and it will no longer fail to "disclose that customers who terminate their T-Mobile wireless service before their device is paid off will have to pay the balance due on the phone at the time of cancellation."

Not mentioned is the fact that said iPhone 5 is also locked to T-Mobile until you've paid off the device fully, something some users appear to only be discovering until they read the "uncarrier's" new fine print. In short, while T-Mobile's no subsidy business approach is appreciated by many, they were a bit too liberal in their marketing of it.

"As Attorney General, my job is to defend consumers, ensure truth in advertising, and make sure all businesses are playing by the rules," Ferguson said. "My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to adequately disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm."

Perhaps, though in an industry where unlimited means limited and there's an ocean of annoying fees tacked on to bills, it's kind of a curious violation to see singled out. Still, T-Mobile's language has confused a few fine-print phobic individuals. Regardless, as part of T-Mobile's agreement, users who signed up for the new "no restrictions" service between March 26th and April 25th can get a full refund and cancel their service plans without any penalties.

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To infinity... and beyond
Irvine, CA

2 recommendations

Are people stupid?

As far as i'm concerned, the T-Mobile EIP (Equipment Installment Plan) is a separate credit line. Hell, it even requires its own credit check.

I purchased my phone outright, put it on one of T-Mobile's new "Value" simple no contract plans. I am able to add a phone for $99 down if I wish.

Also, if I ever purchased a phone on the EIP, I am able to pay it off at any time, thus fulfilling any so called "contract".