A New York City agency has filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile and some of its authorized Metro by T-Mobile dealers, alleging that their stores sold used phones, claiming that they were new, among more than 2,200 violations.
The complaint filed in the state supreme court in Manhattan said T-Mobile’s "pervasive" illegal activity spanned 56 Metro stores in all five boroughs, including authorized dealers and stores run by its MetroPCS NY unit, according to Reuters.
The city’s lawsuit said that abusive sales tactics are rampant at Metro stores, including charging fees for unwanted services, charging illegal taxes and failing to give customers legal receipts.
New York’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has been investigating consumer complaints about T-Mobile for about a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dozens of people had complained to the agency about buying what they thought were new phones that they then verified were actually used. Others complained that a phone financing program increased the price of the phones without their knowledge. In addition, some people where charged taxes that appeared to be “made up,” according to the lawsuit.
A spokesperson for T-Mobile said via email to FierceWireless: “We take these allegations very seriously and are continuing to investigate so we can respond to the city. Though we can’t comment on the specific claims at this early stage, what we are seeing alleged here is completely at odds with the integrity of our team and the commitment they have to taking care of our customers every day.”
The city’s lawsuit asks the court to require T-Mobile to return money it made from illegal practices and to create a restitution fund for victims.
The news comes at an inopportune time for T-Mobile, which is trying to finalize its merger with Sprint. One of the final hurdles to the merger is to deal with a lawsuit filed by 17 state attorneys general who want to block to the deal. That trial is scheduled to begin in December.