Sling TV tells dissatisfied customers to pound sand when it comes to refunds

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Last Saturday night many Sling TV customers including myself who tried to watch various programs such as UFC Fight Night 101 were greeted by buffering video, repeating video or a black screen with a spinning circle.

 

Its not your connection, its Sling.

Of course, this is nothing unique or even new, Sling has a long history of offering a service that is plagued with issues when it comes to streaming.

Sling TV which is a subsidiary of The Dish Network, launched in January 2015 as an alternative to Cable TV, since then has been the target of thousands of complaints and negative reviews for providing shoddy service or not providing any service at all.

It currently has Over 3,000 critical reviews on Amazon, over 100 on CNET, dozens with the Better Business Bureau along with thousands of negative feedback on twitter like these:

As silly as this sounds, maybe the ultimate plan was to create such an unpleasant experience for cord cutters that they would come crawling back to Satellite and Cable TV, of course, this would work if TV viewership weren’t at an all time low across the board and ratings for national events such as the Emmys, American Music Awards and even the NFL have plummeted.

On top of plummeting TV ratings, there are other streaming alternatives such as Playstation Vue (which has over 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon), Netflix, HBO Now, Direct TV Now and the hundreds of pirated streams on sites like YouTube Live for most news and sporting events, so this plan just like Sling TV was doomed to fail before it even began.

On the other hand, maybe the Dish Network saw the writing on the wall and launched SlingTV in 2015 as a way to recapture subscribers that it was going to quickly lose but whatever their plan or reasoning was, they have failed miserably at it.

So, what happens when you ask for a refund or try to cancel?

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Instead of addressing issues with the service when asked for a refund, a representative for Sling instead responded with:

“Sling TV is a pay in advance, non-refundable service”

then referred the consumer to their Terms of Service agreement.

This seems to be in line with what a lot of other consumers on Amazon have experienced and some reviewers have reported that Sling continued to charge them even after they canceled then refusing to give a refund.

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Amazon Review

“I cancelled within that time frame, and even received an email (within the stated time) from Sling expressing their disappointment that I was leaving, and instructions on how to re-join if I ever decided to do that. It also stated that my account would be turned off immediately. Two days later, my credit card was charged for the monthly service fee for the upcoming month. When I called Sling Customer Service, I was told that I hadn’t cancelled within the required time frame. When I pointed out that I had TWO emails confirming dates, and my compliance, I was told, “No, you don’t. You didn’t do what you were supposed to do, so we’re charging you.” No matter what I said – and no matter what proof I had FROM SLING, the Customer Service Rep said I was wrong, and therefore I was being charged. They would not be refunding me my money. I had to file a Fraud Complaint with my credit card company – which I told the CS Rep I would be doing. I was told “do what you have to do. We’re not refunding you.” — Amazon Reviewer

 

This just one of the many complaints relating to cancellation issues and it should be noted that this type of unscrupulous business practice has led to multimillion dollar settlements in multiple states with companies such as Autovantage/Trilegiant Corporation/Affinion Group.

Meet Roger Lynch

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All of this falls on the desk of the current CEO Roger Lynch who in my opinion has run the company since its launch in 2015 with such incompetence and blatant disregard when it comes to customer service and has ignored the thousands of negative reviews over the span of almost 2 years.

His arrogance and incompetence will undoubtedly lead to multiple class action settlements with consumers due to the company’s practice of charging consumers after cancellation (2) and also for advertising a service while not actually providing which is the classic definition of bait and switch as well as fraud but of course SlingTV’s website is carefully worded and avoids describing the quality of the service.

Instead of improving service to existing customers, lately he has decided to go on a marketing blitz across multiple platforms such as xbox one, various tech news publication like TechCrunch and The Verge and online deal sites such as Slickdeals to draw in new customers which will undoubtedly overwhelm their already overloaded servers and cause even more customers to leave but I suspect he’s only doing this to keep quarterly earnings and subscription rates up to keep investors happy in the short term.

At this point, the company offers nothing notable, new or worthwhile. If consumers wanted to, they could easily find a pirated stream of CNN, Fox Sports, ESPN, etc that would work, not buffer and look great but most paid for Sling TV to be honest and play by the rules, unfortunately, it appears the service they’re paying for isn’t being entirely honest with them.

Ultimately I see Sling TV either being spun off or sold off after being mired in class action lawsuits and settlements, as for Roger Lynch, perhaps he’s better off running a company such as Western Sky Loans.

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Frontier Communications employee shoves TV reporter, makes criminal threats

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The altercation between the employee and CBS reporter Greg Mills took place after about 100 Frontier customers joined a town hall meeting in Long Beach at the Expo Arts Center to express their frustrations to Melinda White, President of Frontier Communication’s West Region.

As Mills approached White as she was exiting the town hall to find out if she could address a few unanswered questions, another Frontier employee is seen pushing the reporter several times before grabbing him by his coat.

According to Mills, the employee then opened his coat to the reporter and pointed to his waistband to imply that he was armed. The employees actions in itself could be constituted as a criminal threat even if no weapon was seen.

California Penal Code section 422(a) states:

422. (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

All of this stems from a long and still ongoing battle after some Frontier customers were left without cable, internet, home phone and even 911 service shortly after the company finalized its acquisition of Verizon’s FiOS and DSL operations in California, Florida and Texas on April 1st, 2016.

Since April the Texas Public Utility Commission have received 150 complaints and according to the California Public Utilities Commission they have received 584 complaints. Although at this point its hard to gauge how many customers are truly affected by outages stemming from the acquisition, according to Frontier spokesman Peter DePasquale they represent less than 1% of its 3 million customers.

The Town Hall Meeting

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“In theory it was a good idea, get the cable company together with disgruntled customers but customers really wanted action, I got the impression that the cable company wasn’t all that intent on listening to they had to say” — Greg Mills CBS Los Angeles

According to NBC4 reporter Jane Yamamoto, Melinda White (Frontier’s West Region President) did not get a warm welcome, a reporter for the Long Beach Press Telegram described the meeting as rowdy with cheers and boos mixed in but to Frontier’s credit they did send about 2 dozen reps to meet with customers in a separate room although its unclear if any issues were resolved that day.

Throughout the meeting which reportedly lasted an hour, the company’s rep seemed cold and left many customers skeptical, just seconds to the altercation involving her employees with the TV reporter, she initially refused to talk to several reporters and instead told them “We have our media people and you can visit with them”.

So far the company has not publicly commented on the altercation with Greg Mills nor offered an apology but Melinda White did stop briefly stop to answer his questions afterwards, when asked if she thought the problems would be resolved, she responded “yes, absolutely”.

The Aftermath

Its clear that this acquisition was poorly planned on Frontier’s part but I have to wonder if the image of a cold, smug company Representative/President surrounded by thugs in suits making a criminal threat and pushing around reporters is an image they want to portray to the public at this juncture, I also wonder if they will threaten to pull ads from the station instead of apologizing to the reporter and looking into the actions of their employees including those of Melinda White.

Noticeably absent from all of this has been the company’s CEO Daniel J. McCarthy who has not made a personal attempt to reach out to customers. Other CEOs of major companies such as T-Mobile and Sprint often communicate with customers directly (despite all of their faults), so there is no valid excuse why McCarthy can’t do the same instead of hiding behind Spokespersons and Regional  Presidents.

I will try reaching out to this company myself to get answers regarding the conduct of their employees and I will update you if I get a reply.

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Ace Hardware openly supports Anti-Law Enforcement militants whose members killed 2 Police Officers

 

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Just when you thought the Bundy Militia saga couldn’t get any more bizarre or strange, Ace Hardware appears to proudly and publicly throw their support behind the Bundys, this is what the often scofflaw family posted on their facebook page last night to celebrate the occasion.

Seeing this as we drove down Main Street in Mesquite today brightened our day and put a spring in our step. The littlest things can make such a big difference to us right now. We are SO SO SO grateful for the support of ace hardware. Thank you so much for not being afraid to stand with us! LOVE- the Bundy Family— Bundy Ranch Facebook Page (Screenshot)

The Bundy family has had a very ugly and bloody history over the past 2 years which includes (but not limited to) supporters ambushing and murdering Las Vegas Officers Igor Soldo & Alyn Beck who were on a lunch break at CiCi’s Pizza, the murder of Walmart shopper Joseph Robert Wilcox who tried to stop the attack and recently the armed takeover of a federal facility in Oregon which resulted in millions of dollars in damages, the desecration of Native American grounds and led to the death of supporter LaVoy Finicum as he attempted to pull a firearm on Law Enforcement and also the harassment and intimidation of veteran reporter of the Oregonian, Les Zaitz and his family. 

 

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Just to rewind, the Bundys and their supporters made their stance very clear during the Bunkerville Standoff where many took various positions and pointed firearms at Police Officers, BLM agents and strategized placing women in front to use them as cover.

“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front, If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.” Supporter/CSPOA founder Richard Mack

Two years later during the takeover of the federal facility in Harney County, Oregon, supporter Sean Anderson instructed fellow supporters to “kill” law enforcement if they try stop them from getting to the refuge, fortunately that never happened.

If they stop you from getting here, kill them,Supporter, Sean Anderson

Overall Cliven Bundy along with his family’s actions (Primarily Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy) have lead to the deaths of 6 people (2 police officers, 1 civilian and 3 supporters/assailants), so it’s shocking to witness Ace Hardware which has 4,900 hardware stores worldwide, employs 86,000 people and generated 5.05 billion in revenue in 2015 suddenly throw their support behind the Bundy family and ask that they be freed despite everything.

Just as a reminder, this is what Bundy supporters did to Officers Soldo and Beck

Jerad Miller fatally shot Soldo in the back of the head with a handgun, then shot Beck in the throat. Both Millers then killed Beck by shooting him multiple times after he attempted to fire back. Afterwards, they dragged the officers’ bodies out of their booth and covered Beck with a yellow Gadsden flag and a swastika. They also pinned a note on Soldo’s body, which read: “This is the beginning of the revolution.” They also stole both officers’ guns and ammunition. Also, during the restaurant shooting, the Millers loudly declared to other patrons that it was the start of “a revolution” ” — (Source) Wikipedia

 

So far Ace Hardware has remained silent over their apparent support of the Bundys, they have also ignored multiple inquires posted to their Facebook and Twitter pages and have not released an official statement but regardless, they owe an explanation to their customers, Law Enforcement officers and their families who have often been the target of harassment, threats and also the Las Vegas Metro Police Department whose fellow officers and their families paid the ultimate price on June 8th, 2014 because of the Bundy family actions.

 

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From left, Sgt. Jimmy Oaks, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, Joseph Beck and Elizabeth Krmpotich attend a memorial service for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Alyn Beck at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Las Vegas. — Credit: AP

 

 

 

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Cowboom.com closes shop after 8 successful years to become another boring, bland and overpriced brand

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A few days ago Cowboom which was founded in 2008 and a subsidiary of Best Buy suddenly announced that it was closing shop and becoming ‘Best Buy Outlet‘.

Its unclear what prompted Best Buy to make this decision but the news was quickly greeted with reactions of disappointment, sadness and somewhat anger.

Cowboom was once the place for consumers to find affordable deals on Best Buy’s often overpriced products and likely helped keep the company afloat by allowing it to offload trade-ins, unsold, open box, and showroom items to consumers at a reasonable price.

That has now been replaced by Best Buy Outlet which is bland, hard to navigate and many of the so-called “deals” just link to regular priced BestBuy.com items.

I think this move will be looked at as one of Best Buy’s biggest blunders and will lead to more store closures since they no longer have a place that many viewed as neutral to offload stock.

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Cowboom.com Team

Its unclear what will become of Cowboom’s employees or what is Best Buy’s long term goals are under Hubert Joly but Cowboom undoubtedly made a huge impact on the online retail industry and will be sorely missed.

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Ammon Bundy supporter only held on $5,000 bail after making multiple threats to kill Police Officers

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In a Body Cam video released by the Oregon State Police and posted by the Harney County Sheriff’s Department, the man, identified as Joseph Arthur Stetson was stopped around 12PM at a Gas Station/Food Market in Harney County after being suspected of driving drunk.

During the first 5 minutes of the near 10 minute encounter, Stetson was talkative and cooperative with Troopers although he seemed to have a hard time remembering where he was headed to and kept saying that he was headed to Banks, Oregon then later Burns, Oregon to join the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve.

The State Trooper told him that the reason for the stop was because they got calls about him and were a little concerned, he also told Stetson that he was being recorded.

At one point Stetson muttered “Piece of shit Obama, Muslim piece of shit” then stated that “I respect authority” after the State Trooper spotted what appeared to be a gun on his person and asked him to stop putting his hands in his pockets.

He also claimed to have only drank NyQuil after the Trooper noted that he smelled alcohol coming from Stetson’s breath.

The conversation took a scary and sinister turn after he was placed into custody, during a profanity laced rant that lasted about 4 minutes he told Troopers, “I’ll kill all of ya Don’t believe me? If I go to jail, when I come out I will kill you” he went on to say:

 

“I’m a Green Beret Colonel, 1980, I served in central America my record was sealed (from) Ronald Reagan. I’ll kill all you sons of bitches. Freaking cowards sons of bitches. I will kill you sir.”

 

“I’ve got a damn M14 up in hills up there in (Mt Hood?) and I’m going to kill all you sons of bitches, you’ll see you sons of bitches. Freaking cowards, you Obama sons of bitches.”

 

“You son of a bitch cops, I will kill you”

 

“BAM! Off with your freaking heads!”

 

“I will kill you, freaking Nazi son of a bitch!”

As he was being put in the back cab of a waiting State Trooper pickup truck, he ended with this parting shot

“I will kill you, state trooper, I will kill all of you!”

Authorities told NBCNews that he kicked a police car so violently the door was significantly damaged but even all of that he was only held on a $5,000 bail in Harney County and only charged with resisting arrest. Its unclear if he’s posted bail at this time or if he will retain the right to posses a firearm.

Online sympathizers like ‘20watter‘ quickly took to YouTube and decried the encounter as being ‘unconstitutional’ while another supporter going by the moniker ‘YouAreOneOfUs‘ claimed the entire encounter was ‘staged’ and ‘fake’

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Source: YouTube Comments

 

Should Law Enforcement be concerned?

 

Yes, Stetson is likely part of self proclaimed ‘Patriot’ / ‘Constitutional militia’ / ‘Anti-Government’ movements many of whom are people who claim to be ex-military. Over the past 2 years people aligned with or are sympathizers with these particular movements have either ambushed, killed or wounded Federal Employees and Police officers, sympathizers such as:

Jerad and Amanda Miller who were involved in the Bundy ranch standoff and later stalked and murdered two Las Vegas Police Officers in a pizza place then draped their bodies in a Gadsen flag.

Jared posted this message on facebook prior to the rampage

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James Boulware purchased an armored car off ebay then went on a rampage that included opening fire on Police Officers in Dallas Texas

Eric Frein ambushed and shot 2 State Troopers in Blooming Grove, PA, killing 1.

Larry Steve McQuilliams went on a late night rampage in the City of Austin, TX which included firing on a bank and Federal Courthouse, planted a crudely made bomb in front of a Mexican Consulate building before being killed in front of Austin Police Headquarters.

Then there is Robert Dear who wounded 5 police officers and killed 1 during an assault on a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Over the past 2 years has been especially dangerous for law enforcement because not only have they been attacked by people who claim to be associated with these groups but sympathizers of other groups such as ISIS

As for Joe Stetson who announced in mid 2015 that he was running for President in 2016, its unclear if this latest incident will have a negative effect on his campaign.

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Source: Google Plus

 

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John Legere Gives Non-Answer to Question about T-Mobile Throttling YouTube Content then Follows it Up with a Profanity-Laden Tirade Against the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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The embattled CEO pretty much gave a non-sensible answer to a direct question about why he’s lowering the resolution of YouTube streams then went on a profanity laden tirade against the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Question #1:

“.@JohnLegere Does Binge On alter the video stream in any way, or just limit its bandwidth? #AskJohn” — Electronic Frontier Foundation

Answer:

“So what BingeOn does …it includes a proprietary technology and what the technology does is not only detect the video stream but select the appropriate bitrate to optimize to the video …their mobile device, that’s part A of my answer.

Part B of my answer is who the fuck are you anyway EFF? Why you stirring up so much trouble and who pays you?” — John Ledgere

 


 

Question #2:

@JohnLegere Why are you lowering the resolution of streams (YouTube) that are not part of the Binge On?” — @polo421 (Twitter)

Answer:

“Okay, good question

“Why you lowering the resolution streams that are not part of Binge On?”

Binge on is just not the 38 services that are streaming free, binge on is ability is stretch the use of your data bucket across all video streams and highly important are these other none free streams like YouTube that you talked about” — John Legere (Twitter)

 


 

Question #3:

“@JohnLegere I think the biggest question that needs answering is exactly what video optimization technology is being used for Binge On.” — Kevin Tofel (Twitter)

Answer:

“The biggest question… Why is that your biggest question?

What it is, is its video detection and its uhh… optimization of the video stream for mobile devices and by the way, its video that’s being optimized and the rest of your services work exactly the same.

And by the way, its fully at the customer’s control” — John Legere (Twitter)

 


 

Question #4:

“@JohnLegere I really like the idea of Binge On but it detracts from my experience with single-bitrate streams/downloads, can it be improved?” — @AvohkahTamer (Twitter)

Answer:

“I think that is a good question to close on I’m glad you like the idea and of course we’re going to constantly work to improve it. Lets keep this dialog going, we’re going to kind of finish this part. I am going to be on later and do a periscope and do some more Q&A but lets keep the dialog open. Of course we’ll work to improve it constantly.” — John Legere (Twitter)

He did answer a few other questions including one about porn but he continued to ignore my questions about the photo he tweeted of his chief lobbyist posing in a photo with an FCC commissioner at the consumer electronics show.

He ultimately ended the Q&A shortly after 1PM PT but stated that he would keep the conversation going. Its unclear if he will stand by his remarks about the EFF.

Update (8:33PM PT): It appears Legere walked back comments he made about the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier today

He also did a Periscope session later on where he said he would like to meet with the EFF.

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T-Mobile CEO calls Binge On critics “Jerks” during foul mouthed 3 minute video rant

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This Morning the CEO of T-Mobile released a 3 min videos in response to increasing criticism of how the company is handling data through it’s BingeOn program which it claims provides customers with ‘Unlimited Data’.

 

“…We give customers more choices and these jerks are complaining, who the hell do they think they are?” — John Legere

 

 

 

During the nearly 4 min rant which was posted on twitter and the company’s blog, he dismissed claims of throttling made by Google, The EFF and others as “Bullsh*t” and made vague claims to being a victim of “Groups out there” and “The big guy’s agenda” which is interesting considering that he recently tweeted a photo of his company’s chief lobbyist Kathleen Ham posing in a photo with FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, both were wearing T-Mobile’s trademarked magenta.

 

The interesting part of the press release is where he claims others are playing semantics while it appears hes doing the very same thing

“There are people out there saying we’re “throttling.” They’re playing semantics! Binge On does NOT permanently slow down data nor remove customer control. “T-Mobile Press Release

While he doesn’t categorically deny slowing it down his customers’ connections which could violate the FCC’s net neutrality rules, he added that they don’t do it “permanently”.

So far he’s ignored numerous questions from me about the Tweet, BingeOn and throttling YouTube videos (which isnt a BingeOn partner) but he promised to hold a #AskJohn Q&A session later today at 12PM PT/3PM ET.

You can read my previous article about T-Mobile and BingeOn below:

FCC commissioner poses with T-Mobile lobbist at CES amid calls for investigation into ‘BingeOn’ and net neutrality practices

 

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FCC commissioner poses with T-Mobile lobbist at CES amid calls for investigation into ‘BingeOn’ and net neutrality practices

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Earlier today T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere tweeted a photo of FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wearing a magenta jacket posing with T-Mobile’s chief lobbyist Kathleen Ham who was also wearing a magenta Jacket which is T-Mobile’s trademarked color.

Interesting enough a federal judge recently ruled in T-Mobile favor and against AT&T and ordered the telecom giant stop using the color magenta or better yet Pantone 676C over fears that it might cause consumers to confuse the two companies.

So, was this just an unfortunate coincidence or a show of solidarity on the FCC commissioner’s part?

At this point so much is unknown but it does bring into question why the CEO of T-Mobile would find it necessary to tweet a photo of his chief lobbyist posing with a FCC commissioner on the heels of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) ‘blasting’ the company over its practices with ‘Binge-On’ and calling for an FCC investigation over possible violations of the agency’s recent net neutrality rulings.

(BBC) In tests, the EFF found video download speeds were slower when Binge On was enabled

 

The EFF isn’t the only group accusing the telecom giant of scrupulous business practices when it comes to BingeOn which T-Mobile claims its offering ‘unlimited’ bandwidth to users on Hulu, NetFlix, HBO, Ustream, ESPN and others.

Recently Google accused the T-Mobile of throttling it’s parent company YouTube’s videos and lowering their resolution, even though Google/YouTube doesn’t agreement with T-Mobile and is not included with the Binge On lineup.

In response, an unnamed T-Mobile rep told DSLReports that “Using the term ‘throttle’ is misleading,”, the rep went on to say that they are ‘optimizing’ videos for mobile devices.

“We aren’t slowing down YouTube or any other site. In fact, because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before. A better phrase is ‘mobile optimized’ or a less flattering ‘downgraded’ is also accurate.” — Unnamed T-Mobile Representative (DSLReports)

I did ask the CEO of T-Mobile and the FCC Commissioner via twitter to comment on our concerns about possible conflict of interest but so far they have not responded.

What remains to be seen is if T-Mobile is indeed violating the FCC’s net neutrality rules as articles by Consumerist, Slate and the BBC seem to suggest, if they will face any fines or other penalties from FCC.

Update (9:18PM): JohnLegere has since deleted his original tweet and re-posted it, we’ve updated the article to include the updated tweet.

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T-Mobile: Proud to rank 4th in 2015

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T-Mobile’s current CEO John Legere seemed surprised to have recently ranked the 4th most influential CEOs of 2015 on Twitter.

The often foul-mouthed CEO who recently got into an online fight with Donald Trump is reported to have made $29.2 million in 2013, earning more than the CEOs of Verizon and AT&T at that time but to his credit he did increase T-Mobile’s customer base from 33 million in 2012 to 61 million in 2015 and recently surpassed Sprint to become the 3rd largest carrier in the US since becoming CEO in 2012.

 

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Toshiba announces 2nd round of layoffs following scandals, resignations and multibillion dollar loss forecast

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It was recently announced that Toshiba would be laying off a total of 7,800 employee, this is in addition to the 900 layoffs announced in 2014.

Over the past 4 years the company has seen declining sales of consumer electronics and appliances, accounting scandals, multi-billion yen losses, resignations and possible fines.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company lost 63.5 billion yen in 9 months ending in December 2014.

In 2015 PC, TV and appliance sales only made 18% of total sales which is down from 46% in 2006.

It also supplied 2 reactors to at the now shuttered Fukushima nuclear plant that has left thousands displaced, furthermore it is expected to take 40 years to decommission the plant.

 

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Things got even worse earlier this year when the company was suddenly embroiled in a accounting scandal where the company admitted to overstating its profits by nearly $2 billion over the past 7 years. Even though they first announced accounting problems in April 2015 the extent was not fully understood until early September.

The scandal resulted in its CEO Hisao Tanaka resigning along with 7 of 16 board members stepping down in July.

 

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