T-Mobile U.S. is trying to force customers into arbitration in order to avoid a class-action lawsuit that accuses the phone carrier of violating federal law by selling its customers’ real-time location data to third parties. Ars Technica reports: T-Mobile yesterday filed a motion to compel arbitration in U.S. District Court in Maryland, saying that customers agreed to terms and conditions that require disputes to be handled in arbitration instead of courts. The two plaintiffs named in the lawsuit did not opt out of the arbitration agreement, T-Mobile wrote. “As T-Mobile customers, each Plaintiff accepted T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions (‘T&Cs’),” T-Mobile wrote in a memorandum of law. “In so doing, they agreed to arbitrate on an individual basis any dispute related to T-Mobile’s services and to waive their right to participate in a class action unless they timely opted out of the arbitration procedure outlined in the T&Cs. Neither Plaintiff elected to opt out. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have brought their grievances to the wrong forum and their claims should be dismissed in favor of arbitration.” T-Mobile’s terms and conditions say, “Thanks for choosing T-Mobile. Please read these Terms & Conditions (‘T&Cs’), which contain important information about your relationship with T-Mobile, including mandatory arbitration of disputes between us, instead of class actions or jury trials. You will become bound by these provisions once you accept these T&Cs.” Customers can opt out of arbitration by calling 1-866-323-4405 or online at www.T-Mobiledisputeresolution.com, but action must be taken within 30 days of activating a new phone line. The customers who opted out of T-Mobile arbitration could file a similar lawsuit, but that would result in a much smaller pool of customers who could seek damages.
The class-action complaint seeks financial damages and certification of a class consisting of every person who was a T-Mobile customer in the U.S. between May 3, 2015 and March 9, 2019. That’s at least 50 million people, the class-action complaint says.