A Washington state attorney general is really putting the heat to T-Mobile in regards to its Simple Choice plan. As announced earlier T-Mobile has done away with contracts in a bid to attempt easier plans for new members. Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he isn’t fooled by T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan. In a statement issued Thursday Attorney General Ferguson stated:
“My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm,”
There were several things that rubbed Ferguson the wrong way about the Simple Choice plan. For one thing consumers would have to pay full price for smartphones. Not only that, but if consumers go with the plan they face a smaller fee in addition to their plan to cover the cost of the smartphone. If a customer leaves their plan early they will need to for their service right after. Ferguson feels that T-Mobile didn’t explain the total scope of what the deal implies and simply told customers the part that would sound most appealing.
As a result T-Mobile has been handed another lawsuit and the company is expected to meet and go over their plan to see how to explain their plan more clearly. It will obviously knock quite a bit of the edge off the appeal of the plan especially when customers will have to pay the full price of the smartphone.
T-Mobile has chosen to stop advertising Simple Choice as a no restrictions plan and will explain to their consumers that they will have to pay full price should they terminate their plan early. It’s expected that they would also tell customers the full cost of the phone and that customers would need to complete a 24-month plan if they choose to go with Simple Choice. In stores their reps will have to explain the plan in full.
The company has agreed to allow customers who joined the Simple Choice plan between March 26 and April 25 will get a full refund at no choice.
To sum this all up, T-Mobile users are still bound to a two year plan. They’re not calling it a “contract” per se, but that’s essentially what it is. The promotion of what was basically their original two year plan as one without contracts was a pretty good attempt and did give them a lot of buzz for a few weeks and ultimately that’s the main goal here. The idea of a two year contract with its ridiculous pricing at times can be very unappealing to customer so the sound of a contract that isn’t a contract works for new users coming in. It’s something new, something none of the other providers are offering—even though they are actually.
It will be interesting to see what other providers do with this situation. Will they go with an actual no contracts plan, would they stick with what works for them currently, or will there be other plans. Verizon have said that they were willing to go a route similar to T-Mobile’s, but now that T-Mobile is in a bit of legal trouble—albeit in one state only so far—it’s likely they’ll back off of consideration of it. That isn’t to say that Verizon would drop trying to find a working plan for their customers as many requested that they go with something like T-Mobile’s Simple Plan (again this was at a time when the plan was appealing).
T-Mobile is expected to address the lawsuit later today, but have said that they made changes to the promotion approach and stopped commercial advertising their Simple Choice as they had been in “spirit” and not in response to the suit. Take that as you will, reader but when Attorney General Bob Ferguson started peeling back the layers on this well decorated onion of a plan, the promotional approach changed very quickly.
Beside the fact that customers should really press the question of the true nature of the plan before joining on, what do you think of the Simple Choice plan? Did T-Mobile do this is “good faith” or was it in response to the suit?