T-Mobile Metro stores sell used phones as new, charge “fake taxes,” NYC says -

Richou

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The New York City government sued T-Mobile yesterday, alleging that its Metro stores routinely use "abusive sales tactics" such as selling used phones as if they are new and charging customers for services they didn't order.

"Abusive sales tactics are rampant at Metro stores," the complaint says. "At least several dozen have sold used phones to consumers as though they were new, charged consumers for fake taxes and unwanted services, or enrolled consumers in expensive financing plans without their consent."

T-Mobile's Metro division offers prepaid service over the T-Mobile wireless network and is branded as "Metro by T-Mobile." It was known as MetroPCS until a 2018 rebranding. T-Mobile has stressed that Metro and itself are one and the same, announcing that "Metro by T-Mobile is T-Mobile," the lawsuit noted.

The Metro by T-Mobile abuses "do not end at the store," the NYC lawsuit says:
The Metro website, which is owned by T-Mobile and emblazoned with the "Metro by T-Mobile" logo, deceives consumers about its stingy return policy: it advertises a "30-day guarantee" on all Metro cell phone purchases, but the fine print reveals that returns or exchanges are only available for a small sub-category of transactions, and only within seven days of purchase.
This illegal activity is pervasive, spanning 56 locations across all five boroughs of New York City, and includes both "authorized dealers" and stores directly operated by T-Mobile's subsidiary, MetroPCS NY. The deception costs consumers considerably. For example, of the 21 phones that DCA [New York City Department of Consumer Affairs] identified as used, most were iPhones that cost several hundred dollars each.
The lawsuit was filed in the state Supreme Court for New York County. The NY Supreme Court is a trial-level court; New York's highest state court is the Court of Appeals.

Thousands of violations

Defendants include T-Mobile, T-Mobile's MetroPCS New York division, and various owners of Metro stores. T-Mobile owns some Metro stores directly, while others are owned by dealers that "contract with MetroPCS NY for permission to operate under the Metro brand," the lawsuit said. The defendants "violated the City's Consumer Protection Law thousands of times," the city said in a press release today.

Metro stores charged "illegal taxes, mystery fees, and fees for unwanted services," the city said.

"Some Metro stores sell phones at a discount, but then add taxes on the much higher, pre-discount figure, which is illegal under state law," the city said. "Metro also charged several customers undisclosed and illegal activation fees, and for unwanted products and services like GPS navigation, extra lines, and hotspot capability."

The city's lawsuit seeks forfeiture of revenue in order to create "a restitution fund to compensate New Yorkers scammed at Metro stores." The city said it is also seeking to have T-Mobile "notify all major credit bureaus that the financing contracts were fraudulent so that related information can be removed from the consumers' credit reports, and to pay civil penalties."

"Companies that blatantly scam New Yorkers must be held accountable," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the city's press release. "We are doing everything in our power to make sure that T-Mobile ends these deceptive practices and that customers who were taken advantage of get the restitution they are owed."

When contacted by Ars, T-Mobile said it "take these allegations very seriously" and is "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," T-Mobile said.

Used phones sold as new

Metro by T-Mobile stores "do not advertise that they sell used phones," but "dozens of NYC consumers in the last three years have complained that the phones they bought from NYC Metro Stores were used," the lawsuit says.

Some customers verified through Apple that their "new" phones purchased from Metro by T-Mobile had been previously activated, the lawsuit said. Others discovered that the phones were used because they were "covered in scratches" or could not be charged, the lawsuit said.

When it came to financing agreements, Metro stores "deceived NYC consumers about things as basic as the actual price of the phone to things as complicated as the terms of financing," the lawsuit said. In one instance in January 2019, a consumer named Vashti Anais Wagner tried to buy a phone that was advertised for $599, but the Metro store allegedly enrolled her in a lease agreement in which she'd have to pay $2,191.30 in monthly installments of $199.21.

"The employee did not show Ms. Wagner the contract, appears to have e-signed it in her name, and did not tell her that she would be leasing the phone rather than buying it outright," the lawsuit said.

New York City said it found eight other instances in which Metro stores "simply lied to consumers about down payments or required monthly payments."

30-day guarantee “wholly illusory”

While Metro's website advertises a 30-day guarantee on phone purchases, Metro's actual return policy "only allows returns within seven days from in-store purchases—and all purchases are in-store, because it is impossible to buy a phone from the Metro Website," the lawsuit said. "The touted '30-day guarantee' is wholly illusory, and completely deceptive."

The return policy is also so restrictive that it "bars returns from consumers who bought the phone for an existing line of service or who have 'warranty issues,' which are not defined," the lawsuit said.

New York's lawsuit also said that Metro stores "overcharged consumers through deceptive representations about taxes and other fees, and by surreptitiously adding unwanted services to wireless plans and unexplained fees on consumer receipts."

A Metro store charged one customer what it called "sales taxes," but the taxes went far beyond New York's sales tax rate, "and it is unclear how they were calculated," the lawsuit said.

Additionally, "Metro charged at least two other consumers undisclosed, illegal 'activation payments' of over $70 each, has overcharged at least one other consumer for SIM cards, and has overcharged at least four consumers by including unwanted services like GPS navigation, extra lines, or hotspot capability, in monthly wireless plans," the lawsuit said.

Defendants were also accused of "fail[ing] to provide legal sales receipts."
 

CIA Nigger

"IT'S NOT A FETISH MOM"
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True & Honest Fan
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That sounds about right for sketchy prepaid phone stores. Some will charge you extra money to activate them (which is free if you call the number normally), some will tack on extra services without your knowledge until you call and cancel, and whatnot. They also have a tendency to be real close to vape shops and in some cases even share the same storefront.

It's a business model that preys on people too stupid to drive to the Wal-Mart or even Family Dollar 3 blocks down, buy a phone, and activate it using the guide listed.
 

FluffyTet

A friggin' weeb. Not Tomba.
kiwifarms.net
Oh boy, I just got out of a nasty deal with these fucks.
They use a service called Progressive Leasing, which is a predatory lease-to-own service that charges upwards of 300% on anything leased. but, it's only supposed to be used on NEW products.

But metro don't care. They take a phone in on trade, costs them maybe $50 to fix, they resell it for a lease value of $2000.
Scammy as fuck
 
Y

YW 525

Guest
kiwifarms.net
It's a business model that preys on people too stupid to drive to the Wal-Mart or even Family Dollar 3 blocks down, buy a phone, and activate it using the guide listed.
Please educate me more on this! I am pretty dumb when it comes to cell phones.

For real, what's the guide you're talking about and can I really just go to a Wal-Mart and buy a "blank" phone off the shelf that I can personally set up? Otherwise I just don't keep a cell phone on hand most of the time.
 

Homoerotic Cougar-kun

Cata-mount dat ass.
kiwifarms.net
That sounds about right for sketchy prepaid phone stores. Some will charge you extra money to activate them (which is free if you call the number normally), some will tack on extra services without your knowledge until you call and cancel, and whatnot. They also have a tendency to be real close to vape shops and in some cases even share the same storefront.

It's a business model that preys on people too stupid to drive to the Wal-Mart or even Family Dollar 3 blocks down, buy a phone, and activate it using the guide listed.
Regarding activation fees: the exceptional tech-monkey activating the phone for you gets his kickback from that, usually. They push for that because they scrape commission off shit like that. Also, selling you shitty accessories for your shitty phone, they get commissions for those too.

Please educate me more on this! I am pretty dumb when it comes to cell phones.

For real, what's the guide you're talking about and can I really just go to a Wal-Mart and buy a "blank" phone off the shelf that I can personally set up? Otherwise I just don't keep a cell phone on hand most of the time.
A lot of those packaged prepaid dealios come with a quick setup guide on how to get your shitty little phone running with relatively minimal hassle.
 

Big moth tiddies

Anyone got a light?
kiwifarms.net
That sounds about right for sketchy prepaid phone stores. Some will charge you extra money to activate them (which is free if you call the number normally), some will tack on extra services without your knowledge until you call and cancel, and whatnot. They also have a tendency to be real close to vape shops and in some cases even share the same storefront.

It's a business model that preys on people too stupid to drive to the Wal-Mart or even Family Dollar 3 blocks down, buy a phone, and activate it using the guide listed.
Small power level here, but back when i was unfortunate enough to work at walmart, we would activate the phones and even do the refills for the old people anyway. This situation stinks of "gotta get my commission!" bullshit tactics.
 

Homoerotic Cougar-kun

Cata-mount dat ass.
kiwifarms.net
So much for being the "Un-carrier".
T-Mobile have always been a bunch of unrepentant faggots. I can't think of a single mobile carrier or sub-brand that aren't massive pieces of shit, really. Fuck Verizon and their 5G bullshit, fuck AT&T because they're fucking AT&T, fuck T-Mobile and Sprint and fuck all those shitty little prepaid brands and ESPECIALLY TracFone jesus fucking christ those things are a nightmare to set up half the time because TracFone insists on bundling with the worst fucking smartphones ever fucking made. (Seriously ZTE has to be like the fucking Daewoo or Yugo of smartphones. Fuck those things.)
 

DragoonSierra

kiwifarms.net
Please educate me more on this! I am pretty dumb when it comes to cell phones.

For real, what's the guide you're talking about and can I really just go to a Wal-Mart and buy a "blank" phone off the shelf that I can personally set up? Otherwise I just don't keep a cell phone on hand most of the time.
I bought an unlocked S9 on amazon then went and signed up for Total Wireless. I get 3 lines and 60GB shared for 90 bucks a month.

But many NVMOs well sell cell service on the big boy networks for half the price
 

Homoerotic Cougar-kun

Cata-mount dat ass.
kiwifarms.net
I bought an unlocked S9 on amazon then went and signed up for Total Wireless. I get 3 lines and 60GB shared for 90 bucks a month.

But many NVMOs well sell cell service on the big boy networks for half the price
Samsung? Fuck sake why. They're the Android Apple at this point. I mean, an S9, S10, whatever is still better than an iPhone XS but I'll take my Chinese Spyware Motos that kick ass for half the pricetag thanks. Some LGs aren't terrible these days, either.

EDIT: Wait, ok, Samsung has a few nice things going for it I guess. The Easy Mode setting is fucking great for exceptional geriatrics, they have their own cloud storage, and Samsungs are OK on battery life. Not great though.
 

CIA Nigger

"IT'S NOT A FETISH MOM"
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True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
T-Mobile have always been a bunch of unrepentant faggots. I can't think of a single mobile carrier or sub-brand that aren't massive pieces of shit, really. Fuck Verizon and their 5G bullshit, fuck AT&T because they're fucking AT&T, fuck T-Mobile and Sprint and fuck all those shitty little prepaid brands and ESPECIALLY TracFone jesus fucking christ those things are a nightmare to set up half the time because TracFone insists on bundling with the worst fucking smartphones ever fucking made. (Seriously ZTE has to be like the fucking Daewoo or Yugo of smartphones. Fuck those things.)
Verizon and ATT have market share because they have a reputation of not dropping calls. If someone has a work phone, it's either Verizon or ATT (and maybe US Cellular in a rural part of the USA). But you will never see any T-Mobile or Sprint work phones for a reason, they both have shitty networks.
 

3119967d0c

رنج آمریکایی ها
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
The suit is available here. It's an interesting read. They mainly seem to be trying to sting T-Mobile for advertising a '30 day guarantee' on their website that only applies to online purchases (which they don't do anymore), and are throwing in a bunch of greasy shit that their dealers, who are essentially operating as franchisees, did to ramp up the media pressure.

The 'guarantee' in question doesn't that much more deceptive than most you see around. I noted only one case of shitty practices outlined in the suit that involved one of the 15-20 stores T-Mobile actually owns themselves (out of hundreds of total 'T-Mobile dealers' in NY), and the material at the end that breaks down shit like allegations of fake taxes shows only one case of an actual T-Mobile store allegedly doing this, and unlike the other cases, it actually was refunded.

Some pretty brazen scams going on among the dealers though. What a bunch of madarchoads!
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Oh boy, I just got out of a nasty deal with these fucks.
They use a service called Progressive Leasing, which is a predatory lease-to-own service that charges upwards of 300% on anything leased. but, it's only supposed to be used on NEW products...
Got out of as in 'finally finished paying the cunts' or got out of as in 'they had to make a deal with you to avoid trouble'? If the former it might be worth seeing whether there is a similar consumer law body in your state to threaten them with/actually complain to.
 

FluffyTet

A friggin' weeb. Not Tomba.
kiwifarms.net
Got out of as in 'finally finished paying the cunts' or got out of as in 'they had to make a deal with you to avoid trouble'? If the former it might be worth seeing whether there is a similar consumer law body in your state to threaten them with/actually complain to.
Don't mean to overshare but kinda have to. I used to work network operations for one of these companies (not metro) and went to go buy a phone from a store that didn't know who I was, to get a phone and to kinda secret shop. They used the same leasing, I knew full well that the merchant contract terms said no used device sales, and the 90 day payoff was cost plus 10%, but the store quoted me cost plus 20.

They sold me a used phone with someone else's info on it locked to a network I don't use, packaged as new.
So I called the area rep, got the phone returned and their merchant license pulled. The predatory lease-to-own companies like this are gonna be sued into oblivion sometime soon due to deceptiveness, incompetence of sales reps and pressure to get sales.
 

Buer

The God of Tits and Wine
kiwifarms.net
I guess I know which place I'm not buying my next phone from. Ugh. I just got a new one from them and I'm not gonna buy a new one for awhile. I didn't even know activation could be free. At least I wasn't fucked over like some other people though. My phone is brand new(I know because I found the manufacture date) and was apparently made in Finland. And I doubt they make shit phones.
 

Homoerotic Cougar-kun

Cata-mount dat ass.
kiwifarms.net
I guess I know which place I'm not buying my next phone from. Ugh. I just got a new one from them and I'm not gonna buy a new one for awhile. I didn't even know activation could be free. At least I wasn't fucked over like some other people though. My phone is brand new(I know because I found the manufacture date) and was apparently made in Finland. And I doubt they make shit phones.
So a Nokia then?

Was never thrilled with their smartphones, but a brick is still a brick I think. They probably make 4G-capable bricks.

God, so many people were PISSED about the 3G sunset.
 

FluffyTet

A friggin' weeb. Not Tomba.
kiwifarms.net
I guess I know which place I'm not buying my next phone from. Ugh. I just got a new one from them and I'm not gonna buy a new one for awhile. I didn't even know activation could be free. At least I wasn't fucked over like some other people though. My phone is brand new(I know because I found the manufacture date) and was apparently made in Finland. And I doubt they make shit phones.
Nokia eh? Nice. They have a high quality spread tho. high price is very high quality, but the cheap shit is cheap for a reason.
 

vertexwindi

Diddy in space, even though he's not
Supervisor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Can confirm T-Mobile is shit. I've tried numerous times to give them my new address only for their website to break mysteriously every time and their customer service taking ages to connect me to someone.
 
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