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Sprint Nextel = Racketeer?

In a class action suit filed by Jerald D. Crawford against Sprint Nextel Corporation, Mr. Crawford asserts that:

“Throughout the Class Period, as defined below, the Defendant originated, designed, implemented, and executed a policy, a form or established pattern and practice and/or course of conduct, by and which it would transmit via federal interstate wires, including electronic messaging (e-mail”), and federal mails, a series of deceptive, false, fraudulent and misleading advertisements regarding its “Sprint Picture Mail” plan to all persons whose names had been ascertained through the Defendant’s billing and/or business records.”

…and goes on to claim that

“The purpose and intent of these deceptive, false, fraudulent and misleading advertisements was to entice and/or lure Sprint/Nextel customers into purchasing the “Sprint Picture Mail” plan for a $5.00/month service charge without disclosing the true charges associated with this add on service, which were exorbitant and in many cases caused the purchaser’s bill to double. “

The facts of the case as asserted by Crawford are:

“In or around October 2006, the Plaintiff, Jerald Crawford began receiving advertisements via his cellular phone from the Defendant regarding its Picture Mail service that stated the following: “Service Fee to gain access, add Sprint Picture Mail to your Sprint Service Plan. A $5.00/mo. service charge (plus taxes and fees) will be added to your Sprint Invoice.

“This advertisement and promotion does not mention what other fees and costs are associated with this service. After a customer purchases this service, they still are not apprised of what other costs may be associated with it until the end of the billing cycle.

“At the end of the billing cycle, Defendant Sprint presents the customer with a total price, which the customers must pay. Defendant Sprint, through its advertisements, marketing, sales techniques, statements, actions and omissions, leads the customer to believe and understand that the price presented represents the cost of the service alone.

“Plaintiff Crawford was induced to purchase this service because ofthe allegedly low service charge associated with it, however, it was never disclosed to him or, upon information and belief, anyone else at the point of purchase that this service also charged a PCS Data fee of $0.031 per KB of data transmitted.

“Plaintiff Crawford used this service to transmit photos he had taken with his cellular phone not realizing that each time a photo was sent the Defendant was charging the PCS Data fee. At no time prior to receiving his phone bill was Plaintiff Crawford aware of the PCS Data transmission fee.

“Sprint charged Plaintiff Crawford $69.72 for the Sprint Picture Mail service. Plaintiff Crawford complained to Sprint customer service representatives about these charges and the deceptive and misleading terms of the advertisement, but was informed that the charges for the picture transmissions had to be paid.

“As described above, the $5.00 Imo. Service Fee to gain access to the Sprint Picture Mail service is a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false, fraudulent pretenses, and representations. Defendant Sprint operates this illegal scheme and enterprise and is aided by use of the federal interstate wires, including electronic messaging (e-mail”), and the federal mails. “

This case was filed on March 11, 2008 in the Northern District of Alabama. The case number is 2:08-cv-00443-WMA.  Click on the following link to download the case:

Crawford v. Sprint Nextel

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1 comment to Sprint Nextel = Racketeer?

  • Tony Maden

    What happened in this case? Has anyone taken related cases against Sprint Nextel for similar misleading practices for picture mail within everything messaging plan?

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