Class Accuses Sprint of a Bait and Switch

LOS ANGELES (CN) – The lure of half-priced mobile phone service was only a mirage, a California woman says in a $5 million federal class action against Sprint Communications.

Los Angeles County resident Sylvia Nixon says Sprint defrauded at least 100 California consumers with false promises to entice them to switch cellular service providers.

“Such representations was part of a common scheme to mislead consumers and incentivize them to purchase telephone services in spite of the inhibition brought about by the difficulty of installing them,” Nixon says in the Feb. 13 complaint.

Nixon says she agreed to Sprint’s terms and changed cellular service providers in November 2014. She says a Sprint salesperson told her and others that their phone bills would be half the cost of their then-current service, and that Sprint would pay the termination fee and give her three prepaid Visa cards with $350 on each.

But after she changed to Sprint, Nixon says, it did not pay her termination fee, it charged far more than 50 percent of her previous bills, and gave her just two of the three Visa cards.

She says she paid a $1,500 termination fee from her prior service provider, and Sprint charged her for the two Visa cards she did get.

Eventually, in May 2016, Sprint terminated Nixon’s phone service and never provided any of the services offered to her, she says.

Nixon says Sprint caused the class to lose money via a “‘scheme with the intent not to sell that personal property or those services’” as advertised.

Sprint did not take reasonable steps to inform consumers that the advertised goods and services were not part of the deal and deceived them, Nixon says.

And, she says, Sprint “persists and continues to engage in these practice and will not cease doing so unless and until forced to do so by this court.”

She seeks class certification, restitution, at least $5 million in damages for false advertising and unfair business practices, punitive damages and a court order requiring Sprint to correct its advertising.

Sprint media relations did not respond to an email request for comment on Thursday.

Class attorney Todd Friedman of Woodland Hills was not immediately available by telephone Thursday.

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