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On June 17th, AT&T brought a “Fast-Track SWIFT” challenge to the BBB National Program’s National Advertising Division (NAD) against T-Mobile. This process is used when a company makes a claim in a single place that NAD can review and make recommendations on.

In this case, AT&T had questions on claims being made about T-Mobile’s “Price Lock” guarantee for their 5G home internet service. The results of the challenge can be found here. It seems the Price Lock program is something T-Mobile is already combating publicly based on a recent FCC response.

Obviously, most consumers would agree, given the recent price increases on legacy plans, some of which were supposedly covered by “Price Lock”.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet Advertising Gets A Change

AT&T’s claim stated T-Mobile’s use of “Price Lock” was a misleading statement. The price for service is not actually ‘locked in’ for the service. Instead, T-Mobile will cover the final month if you ever chose to leave due to them increasing the price of the service.

This means T-Mobile still controls the right to change the price as they want. The price truly is not ‘locked-in’ at all. While a bit of a back-end credit could potentially ease customers upset with the issue, AT&T’s claim held merit that T-Mobile still holds the chips to increase prices at any time. T-Mobile was using “Price Lock” language on print, online, and television advertising.

NAD sided with AT&T on the issue, recommending T-Mobile remove Price Lock language from 5G Home Internet advertising. NAD is intent on preventing T-Mobile from conveying a misleading message.

T-Mobile agreed in an advertiser statement to comply with NAD’s decision. The company said that while they believe they communicated things properly enough, they will agree to adjust the messaging, but only in future advertising.

“While T-Mobile believes the challenged advertisements appropriately communicate the generous terms of its Price Lock policy, T-Mobile is a supporter of self-regulation and will take NAD’s recommendations to clarify the terms of its policy into account with respect to its future advertising.”

T-Mobile in response to NAD

One of the commercials AT&T took issue with can be viewed on YouTube here. The Price Lock language is notably absent and has been removed, showing T-Mobile’s compliance with the NAD recommendation, at least in that specific example.

“Price Lock” Language Is Not Gone Yet

“Price Lock” verbiage is still present on T-Mobile’s landing page for the 5G Home Internet service, with short fine print only discussing the company covering your last month of service if you left due to a price hike. No more promise to not raise your rate. Since that is the only true benefit “Price Lock” provides, with no promise not to raise prices anymore, it seems more lip service than true Un-Carrier feature now.

T-Mobile began the Price Lock guarantee as a way to say they won’t raise the rate of your talk, text, or data ever. Since 5G Home Internet is a data service, it stands to reason customers would feel misled should T-Mobile raise the price in the future.

T-Mobile has made multiple advertisements in the past promoting their so-called “Price Lock”. Going from ‘won’t ever increase your rate’ to ‘here’s one month of bill credits when we do’ was found to be very concerning to the NAD. That has been the beat of T-Mobile’s drum since they changed the policy January 18th, 2024.

At least T-Mobile is putting a hard cap on just how much customers can get when they inevitably decide to increase the price someday. Frustrated customers calling support when the rate increases inevitably happen will have to settle for one month of service adjustment. While generous, it feels hardly enough in an age where changing internet providers involves new setup, new equipment, additional calls to new sales teams, and potential troubleshooting. In the end, T-Mobile has turned Price Lock into ‘throw some money at the problem and hope it goes away’. Not very Un-Carrier or pro-customer.

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