T-Mobile Calling Plans Run Afoul of Washington State's Attorney General
NEWS ANALYSIS: Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's court-ordered agreement with T-Mobile shows how mobile phone calling plans can get ensnared by politics.Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson took T-Mobile to court because he believed the wireless service provider's calling plans that are clearly different from standard practices of the biggest wireless service providers in the United States were somehow "deceptive." On April 25, Ferguson entered into a court-ordered agreement with T-Mobile that requires the wireless carrier to tell people that they have to actually pay for the cell phones they buy from the company. Ferguson took T-Mobile to court after it introduced new mobile phone plans in late March that offer to sell customers phones at a substantial discount, let its customers pay over 24 months at no interest and give them wireless plans that are cheaper than competing plans. In Washington, D.C., we refer to this as proof that no good deed goes unpunished. What upset Ferguson was the fact that T-Mobile insists that if you buy a phone from the company and then cancel your wireless contract, you still have to pay for the phone. Apparently the AG thinks that if you cancel your T-Mobile wireless service, you get to keep the phone for free. He calls the fact that T-Mobile wants you to pay for the phone you buy a "two-year sentence."
But Ferguson also appears to be engaging in another time-honored Washington tradition, which is to keep his friends close and his contributors even closer. Could it be that his crusade against T-Mobile has more to do with money in his campaign coffers than in protecting consumers?