T-Mobile Fined $40m for False Ringtones

T-Mobile Fined $40m for False Ringtones
The settlement offers no compensation to consumers who have been misled by T-Mobile's actions.

(CCM) — U.S. phone carrier T-Mobile has been forced to pay $40 million for using false ring tones to trick callers into believing that calls to rural areas were going unanswered when in fact they could not be connected, the BBC reports.

Phone carriers have been banned from using false ringtones since 2014, but T-Mobile continued using them until January 2017, according to the report. It said that their use had been "unintentional" since the ban, and the issue has now been "corrected."

According to the FCC, the use of false ringtones may have affected "billions" of calls made by millions of users. The FCC has also accused T-Mobile of failing to fix problems with completing calls in rural areas, according to the BBC report.

But the FCC has been criticized for settling the affair with T-Mobile with a fine, without compensating consumers who may have been misled by the false ring tones.

"Prior consent decrees have included direct-to-consumer benefits, such as refunds or discounts, or notifications to customers who have been impacted," Mignon Clyburn, the FCC commissioner, said. "Despite demonstrating a clear and tangible consumer harm, in this consent decree, consumers are treated as a mere afterthought," she added.

Image: © Sergey Kohl - Shutterstock.com