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The Big Apple is suing T-Mobile and claims the third largest US mobile phone company is scamming consumers with tactics like selling used phones as new and using deceptive returns.
The lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday follows a year-long investigation that claimed the company and more than 50 of the T-Mobile subway stations around New York City violated the city's Consumer Protection Act thousands of times, according to a news release.
blatant fraud New Yorkers must be held accountable, says Mayor Bill de Blasio in the statement. "We make every effort to ensure that T-Mobile terminates this deceptive practice and that customers who availed themselves of the refund they owe."
Metro by T-Mobile is the wireless carrier's prepaid phone brand and was formerly known as MetroPCS.
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In an email, T-Mobile said it took the allegations "very seriously" but could not comment on the specific allegations. The company said the charges are "completely contrary to the integrity" of the team and the commitment they have to taking care of the customers.
The city said in its news release that it wants T-Mobile to "stop all illegal activity, to lose the revenue gained from deceptive practices, so that the court can create a victim recovery fund," pay penalties and to notify credit bureaus that the financing contracts were fraudulent.
What the lawsuit claims
According to the city's lawsuit, T-Mobile's fraud practices include:
• Deceiving customers to buy used phones. The city says it "received a stream of complaints from consumers who paid hundreds of dollars for new phones but unknowingly sold used phones."
• To trick customers into financing. The city claims the terms of the agreement "typically add hundreds of dollars to the advertised price."
• To charge consumers illegal taxes, mystery fees and fees for unwanted services.
• Misleading return policy. The city said T-Mobile's return policy is misrepresented on the Metro-branded website, claiming phones have a "30-day warranty", while the lower case says phones purchased at the store must be returned within seven days.
• Failure to provide legal receipts.
Contributor: Associated Press
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