The company that screamed “rape” looks like it might itself be a rapist.
The company is T-Mobile, whose CEO, John Legere, has bemoaned the behavior of his cellular-industry competitors with offensive allusions to actual rape.
Unfortunately (for the company, at least), T-Mobile itself is being investigated by the FTC for the very behavior they’ve denounced. The commission has nailed T-Mobile with a formal complaint, alleging that the company buried phony charges in its customers’ bills to squeeze them for extra cash.
This process is known as cramming, which involves charging “consumers for third-party subscriptions and services that they did not order or authorize,” according to a Slate article on the complaint. Most were charges of $9.99 a month, out of which T-Mobile netted 35-40 percent.
To put this in a fun metaphor, it would be like going to the grocery store and picking up lots of groceries. Your shopping cart is so full that you don’t account for everything until you look closely. And when you do, you realize the store has also sold you a ten-dollar box of crappy cereal you didn’t even put in your cart.
Of course, T-Mobile is denying it. Legere went so far as to post on Twitter that the complaint was the result of “lobbying work of big greedy carriers!” That is, the other big greedy carriers. Not his, God forbid!
We shouldn’t be surprised. Most of Corporate America — if we don’t mind referring to it as a monolithic entity for the sake of ease — has no sense of responsibility until they get nailed to the wall and forced to give in.
But the FTC is reported to have a strong case here, including evidence that the company was aware of the bogus charges as far back as 2012, yet chose to do nothing until November of 2013. Oops.
If you’re going to be controversial and compare your competitors to rapists, it’s probably best that you don’t get caught with your pants down too.