Think you’re a victim of T-Mobile false advertising? You may have legal options.
Are you looking to report T-Mobile for false advertising? Maybe you bought something from them, a product or service, because of their ads but it wasn’t what you expected. We explain how to report T-Mobile if they have done something wrong and more.
False advertising refers to any deceptive or misleading practices where a company uses it’s marketing material like commercials or the labels on a product to convey information that isn’t true about themselves, their products or services, or their competitors.
The rules about deceptive marketing and false advertising can be found in a collection of state and federal consumer protection laws most of which are governed by The Federal Trade Commission Act, which established the FTC in 1914. The FTC is clear about what rules businesses have to follow and what penalties they might face if they don’t.
Some examples of the rules outlined in that section include:
Note: No one actually needs to be misled for a court to find that an advertisement is misleading.
The FTC has a lot of different common types of false advertising, the most common of witches mislabeling a product or packaging, and including false information. One category is called puffery. Puffery is just a term applied to any situation where business might advertise their products or services with exaggerated claims. In this instance, the FTC does not look kindly on situations where a company uses an exaggerated claim that cannot be proven true or false. Basically the company makes very vague claims like having the best carpets in the tri-state area. It would be impossible to prove or disprove this because best of course is subjective.
T-Mobile was accused of false advertising by the New York Attorney General after they produced an ad campaign claiming to rip up service contracts and get rid of false advertising. It seems they did neither successfully. In fact, one of the biggest claims about their deceptive marketing is that they claim no contracts, or no annual contracts, in an effort to entice new customers, but in reality they still require many customers to sign up for a 2 year contract, the same as before.
Other allegations have to do with promises to pay consumers their early termination fees, which means if a customer wants to switch from another cell carrier with whom they are under contract, and sign up with T-Mobile, T-Mobile claims they will buy out the service contract and equipment to help customers do just that. But really, customers have to pay up front for those fees which can be upwards of a few hundred dollars, and if they meet all the requirements not clearly disclosed in the ad (like buying a new phone from T-Mobile) then they will get reimbursed via a VISA prepaid card, not quite the same as advertised.
Other agencies sat up and took notice of the false ads by T-Mobile, like the National Advertising Division which recommended the company “discontinue certain advertising claims” because of their false statements.
And customers aren’t pleased. On the T-Mobile support page there are threads to do with false advertising, specifically about promises in ads to do with service, like getting service anywhere, but in reality, customers not getting much out of their service no matter where they go. There are discussions between customers about how T-Mobile gets away with false advertising on their community support page too. These are not complaints limited to the T-Mobile forums either, many reports have exposed the carrier for claiming to offer nationwide, fast service, but failing.
Now that you understand a bit more about what qualifies as false advertising, you might wonder what you can do about it when T-Mobile is guilty of it.
Firstly, remember courts do not require that anyone actually be affected by the false advertising in order to convict a company of doing it. So, you can submit a consumer complaint to the FTC if you see false advertising taking place. Only by filing a consumer complaint with the FTC can they investigate and take action, and only by regularly reporting companies can consumers like you demand big names conduct honest business. You can also submit a complaint to TruthinAdvertising.org where it will go public.
The FTC can fine them, sue them, or issue more severe punishments depending on what they did and how many times they’ve been caught before. But, if you have been wronged by false advertising, the rules that govern how you can get recourse will depend on your state’s laws related to Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices.
So what can you do to get compensation or justice if you lost money because of false advertising? You can try the FTC first, then customer service, but most of the time that won’t help you. Instead, you can try consumer arbitration.
Consumer arbitration is usually faster and less expensive than going to court but it can still be a bit confusing because it is a legal process with a fair amount of paperwork. That’s where we can help. FairShake helps you navigate the consumer arbitration process, from filing your claim to getting the resolution you deserve.
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