On Wednesday, a consumer filed a class-action lawsuit in the Western District of Washington against T-Mobile USA, Inc. for effectively making numerous types of phones unusable by shutting down older networks and replacing them with 5G towers, which older phones cannot support.
Due to the previous merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, T-Mobile shut down Sprint’s 5G networks, which left approximately 75,000 5G phones to only connect to 4G and lower networks across the country unless they paid to switch their plans to T-Mobile, which significantly reduced download speeds from 20 gigabytes per second down to 100 megabytes per second, the complaint states.
Additionally, according to the complaint, numerous phones became completely unusable as T-Mobile shut down both Sprint and T-Mobile’s 3G and LTE networks leaving the “Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, HTC 5G Hub, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, and various tablets, security systems, and other devices” worthless, forcing customers to buy new phones.
The plaintiff and putative class argue that “selling 5G data plans […] with a limited shelf life and Class Devices unable to connect to existing 5G and other networks is a fraud on consumers.” Due to T-Mobile’s “unfair, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices,” the plaintiff and proposed class have suffered an “ascertainable” loss of money, property and value which the defendants allegedly knew would happen to a large contingent of their customers. T-Mobile allegedly concealed this information since it knew “no reasonable consumer expects to spend more for a device whose advertised and differentiating features will be rendered useless in a few months’ time.”
As a result, the plaintiff is suing on the counts of breach of express and implied warranty, breach of warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, fraud and unjust enrichment.
The plaintiff seeks class certification; the appointment of the plaintiff as class representative; actual, general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive, and consequential damages; injunctive and declaratory relief; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney’s fees and costs; and other relief.