Church, Low-Income, and Minority Communities Demand Additional Remedies Relating to FTC Investigation into T-Mobile’s Unauthorized Charges

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

July 9, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT

Faith Bautista: (650) 892-8469 / fbautista@naacoalition.org

Jason Wu: (650) 952-0522 / jwu@naacoalition.org

Church, Low-Income, and Minority Communities Demand Additional Remedies Relating to FTC Investigation into T-Mobile’s Unauthorized Charges

Today, one week after the FTC filed charges regarding T-Mobile’s unauthorized third-party subscription charges, nine church, low-income, and minority communities filed a complaint with the FTC on T-Mobile. The complaint, which is attached, charges that T-Mobile took particular advantage of low-income and minority communities as it sought to gain market share against Verizon and AT&T.

The church minority community complaint also urges special remedies and protections for these communities who alone have lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of T-Mobile’s improper practices. It also urges that the FCC take appropriate action regarding damages, fines, and penalties.

Mark Whitlock, the senior pastor for the largest black church south of Los Angeles and the chair of corporate relations for 5000 AME churches nationwide, said “Our churches commend the FTC for its vigilance, but we believe there will be no effective resolution unless T-Mobile CEO John Legere steps to the plate and jointly works with church-based and minority nonprofits to ensure full refunds and specific actions that will end cramming not just for T-Mobile, but for all its wireless competitors. Unless this action is taken, it is likely that the proposed Sprint/T-Mobile merger will never occur.”

Sam Rodriguez, the chair of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference on behalf of 40,000 Latino churches in the U.S., said, “We commend FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez for her investigation of T-Mobile. But we wish to call attention to a larger problem affecting our nation’s almost 60 million Latinos, many of whom speak Spanish, and a disproportionate percentage of whom fear deportation if they complain to any government official. Specifically, the FTC has failed to identify the very specific T-Mobile cramming actions that were taken against the Latino community and other low-income communities. Therefore, the FTC must put in place very specific refund and monitoring policies to eliminate cramming, particularly amongst our most vulnerable communities.”

Faith Bautista, on behalf of the National Asian American Coalition, which has filed many unfair practice complaints on behalf of 20 million Asian Americans with the FTC and the FCC, said, “On behalf of 20 million Asian Americans, particularly new immigrants, those with English language barriers, and the millions that do not complain because of fear of adverse government action, we urge the FTC to follow the CFPB principles of automatic refunds, as the CFPB implemented in four major credit card cases, and a special investigation of T-Mobile’s targeting of vulnerable communities.”

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