The deal made sense; after all it must have had a lot of the toys sitting in its warehouse after people rushed to buy something more advanced from Samsung. But according to the Attorney General of Washington State the deal represents false advertising both in terms of price and contract status. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, each offer the iPhone 5 starting at $199 with a two year contract.
But T-Mobile advertised the iPhone 5 for a mere $99 and no contract. Customers quickly learned that the price actually meant $99 down, with the remaining hundred dollars spread out over the life of the contract in the form of surcharges to the monthly carrier bill. Now it turns out T-Mobile has also slipped a cancellation fee into the iPhone 5 deal, charging customers the equivalent of the industry standard “early termination fee” for leaving early – and that’s on top of paying up the remainder of the device surcharge payments.
All this adds up to the fact that T-Mobile’s advertised “uncontract” or “contract free” offer is about the same as everyone else’s. While it appears that the Attorney General cannot charge T-Mobile for writing binding contracts, can stop them from telling people that they have not signed away their souls in the hope of finding a cheap iPhone.