The billing practices of T-Mobile USA are the subject of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit that accuses T-Mobile of profiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent third-party charges that were added to consumer bills without the consent of T-Mobile subscribers. Filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the FTC lawsuit accuses T-Mobile of engaging in “cramming” which, according to FCC estimates, impacts as many as twenty million U.S. wireless subscribers on an annual basis. Studies conducted by the FCC also show that just one in twenty affected subscribers are aware that they have been targeted by crammed charges, which tend to be buried so deeply in multi-page bills that they often go undetected. According to the FTC complaint, T-Mobile retained between 35% and 40% of unauthorized monthly fees for third-party services that include ringtones, wall paper, and celebrity gossip messages. The lawsuit further alleges that T-Mobile continued to profit from such charges despite the fact that large numbers of customers had sought refunds and “complained about unauthorized charges.” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez declared that her agency’s goal “is to ensure that T-Mobile repays all its customers for these crammed charges.” At the same time, acting FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc confirmed that the FCC will conduct its own investigation with the cooperation of the FTC as he vowed to “use our independent enforcement authority to ensure a thorough, swift and just resolution of the numerous complaints against T-Mobile.” Countering, however, that T-Mobile “stopped billing for these . . . services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want,” a company spokesman characterized the FTC lawsuit as “unfounded and without merit.”