How to complain to the FTC and/or FCC about deceptive advertising

If you feel like complaining about your cell phone, you get 1,000 characters
on the online FCC complaint form & 3,000 characters on the online FTC form:
FCC 888-225-5322
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FTC 877-382-4357
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In my case, I feel I was deceived by deceptive advertising on T-Mobile
LG Android phones which advertised 4GB of internal memory *plus* the
capability of a 32-GB external SD card (presumably for augmenting that
paltry memory).
Caveat emptor!
Nobody told me that, after Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), apparently
you can't move any apps to the sd card, nor can you install apps onto the
SD card. If that is true (and I'm still confused whether that's the
case since it appears to be so for my phone but maybe not for others),
then I feel I was the victim of deceptive advertising.
Mea culpa!
Of course, that only holds sway if lots of other people feel the
same way (otherwise, I was just plain stupid).
So if you feel that you've been swayed by deceptive advertising into buying
an Android phone which subsequently turns out to be useless due to this
(or any other issue), I would encourage you to similarly complain using
the easy-to-use online forms referenced above.
FCC -> Wireless Telephone -> Unlawful advertising -> Deceptive or unlawful
advertising or marketing by a communications company
(does NOT include Telemarketing)
FTC -> Use the easy "Complaint Assistant"
PS: Don't tell my sister there is an easy-to-use "complaint assistant"! :)
Reply to
Danny D.
How much memory did/does yours have?
I think the 32 Gigs is for storage, not memory. I suppose Android could use space on the card for virtual memory, but it wouldn't be too efficient, IMO.
I began using Android with 2.3 (Gingerbread). Since at least then, the ability to move apps to the SD card was impossible for me. Though I've not bothered to try with 4.2 (Jelly bean). A bit annoying since there are apps that I use, but not often. I'd rather have them on a portable storage so that there is more room on the phone's drive for things I use regularly.
Maybe. If your LG has less than the four GB of memory advertised, it may be a manufacturing flaw. It's possible that, for whatever reason, something wasn't installed, or was installed wrong, and that had decreased the total amount of memory. Or there may have been something that went wrong when loading the OS that causes it to misread the total amount of memory. Check your phone against others of the same model. Check the memory. It should list something akin to:
Total Memory: 4GB Usable memory: X (this will vary depending on what you have running at any given time)
I don't see where anything you've described makes the phone useless. Not as useful as it could be, perhaps, but not useless.
Ok. I'll keep it quiet this time :)
Reply to
K Wills
I understand your point.
a. LG says it has 4GB of internal memory. b. T-Mobile says it has 4GB of internal memory. Therefore, I must assume the phone has 4GB of internal memory.
My question is, how is a consumer supposed to know that this 4GB of internal memory turns into, in reality, only 600 MB of internal memory for app and appdata storage?
Where is *that* information located?
It's not like that's not an important datapoint.
I feel the carrier should tell us this information *before* we purchase the phone, since, I believe, it's impossible for a consumer to *know* this important information without not only having the phone in their hands, but also adding their google play account and trying to install apps onto the SD card (and failing).
If the carrier won't tell us, how are we supposed to know that a particular 4GB phone is, in reality, only a 600MB phone?
Reply to
Danny D.
I'm not technically savvy, but, there (apparently) *are* ways to turn the SD card into internal memory, and vice versa.
For example, googling, I find these, one of which which might swap out the 4GB of internal memory for the 32 GB SD card (at the expense, we presume, of speed):
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"Mounts2SD is a customizable sd-ext control script that can be used to move content to and from the second sdcard partition known in Android as sd-ext."
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"Move app in the easiest way? ? Move apps to SD card"
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"Ever wanted to swap your internal sdcard and your external sdcard? Yes, you can ! ... fix this annoying thing which make your phone using only few GB when you a full 64GB or even a 32GB one... it works with every devices with external sdcards"
If I ever figure out how to turn the 32 GB SD card into internal memory (from Android's standpoint), do you know what the drawbacks might be?
Reply to
Danny D.
K Wills posted Sat, 05 Apr 2014 14:41:56 -0500
Perhaps 512-1024 MB RAM.
4GB are internal flash storage, equivalent to SSD disk, called internal memory, what is rather confusing.
Nobody reasonable would said it means free 4GB.
Neither SSD or HD with installed OS is fully free. Fact is, PC OSs occupy less relative portion on 80 GB SDD, than Android on 4GB.
General vendor fault is they do not say how much is left when Android and all preinstalled apps are in place, as it is significant drop down for 4 GB only.
Reply to
Poutnik
It probably does.
Your phone likely has the four GB offered. But, as with all computing devises, this isn't the amount of free memory you'll be able to use.
Probably near the bottom of a print ad. Along the bottom of the screen for TV.
Since at least Gingerbread, installing to the SD has not been possible. Or, at least, I've not been able. Although, as I mentioned before, I've not tried with Jelly Bean.
I think you're confusing total memory with available memory. Common sense should have let you know that you wouldn't have all four GB of memory for use. The OS will use a good chunk. Then you add any apps you're using.
Reply to
K Wills
On Sun, 6 Apr 2014 07:36:34 +0200, Poutnik wrote:
Based on what I've been reading, I think Danny's confusion is over how much memory there is in total vs. what is available for use by the person operating the phone.
Reply to
K Wills
K Wills posted Sun, 06 Apr 2014 04:08:00 -0500
I suppose so. Maybe root cause of his confusion is the false thought the Android OS is stored in dedicated firmware flash storage, something like BIOS in PC, what is not true.
Reply to
Poutnik
Poutnik posted Sun, 6 Apr 2014 11:53:30 +0200
P.S.:What make me wonder is how much this initial free space vary across vendors/models.
I remember my Sony Xperia M Dual 4GB with A4.2.2 had initially about 1.7 GB free of so.
Perhaps different bunches of nonOS preinstalled apps by vendors ? Or big differences in size across different Android versions ?
Reply to
Poutnik
If the Android OS is not stored in flash memory on the phone, where is it stored? In the cloud and downloaded each time the phone is rebooted? It has to be one or the other. I assumed it's stored on the phone.
Reply to
trader_4
Agree with the above. And even if you knew how much free memory it had, I'm not sure how you'd know how to calculate what apps you could install. I haven't really paid attention when installing apps on my phone, but I don't even recall it saying how much memory it needed as a minimum, etc. I can think of three possible solutions:
1 - Look at the apps that are installed and you can see on the phone how much memory they take. Are there some big ones that he can do without?
2 - Is it possible that something is corrupted on the phone and it's not actually that it's really out of memory? Like maybe some apps didn't install or uninstall completely, etc? In that case, is there some kind of cleaner utility available that he could run?
3 - Similar to #2, reset the phone to it's original state, start over re-installing apps.
As for a legitimate consumer complaint, I don't think he has much of one. Sounds like the phone does have 4GB of memory. They can't know what you intend to load and maybe not even how much memory the phone will have without any apps. I would think the OS size could increase after you buy the phone if new releases come out, bugs are fixed, etc.
I have an Android I bought in Dec. It has 4GB Flash, 1GB ROM. I've loaded probably a dozen apps. Just checked it and it shows I have 1.95GB total space, 1.13 avail, apps are taking up .62GB. I don't have much in the way of say photos or videos stored. But if that were the problem, that can be re-located to external memory card, leaving more space for apps.
Reply to
trader_4
Actually, the fundamental root cause of my "problem", is that I had (innocently) "thought" that we could MOVE (or delete) pre-installed apps to the 32GB SD card, which, if true (as it was in prior versions of Android), would make the 4GB ROM less limiting.
In fact, the carrier (T-Mobile) advertised that the 4GB phone could be augmented with a 32GB microSD card, but, only *after* I added the 32GB class 10 card did I realize that was a lie.
Google, apparently, prohibits moving of apps to the flash card, so, the flash card is only useful for "user content" of which there is none (simply because the phone is useless and therefore has never been put in service).
NOTE: The story is complicated, because prior to Android 4.0, Google allowed moving of apps; between 4.0 and 4.3 Google disallowed moving of apps; and after 4.3, Google allowed moving of apps if the developer enables it. account).
The other fundamental root cause of the "problem" is that there is absolutely no way for a consumer to know that the 4GB phone has only 600MB of usable space for apps.
Since the user can't easily know these two fundamental pieces of data, and since the carrier clearly knows them, I feel the carrier should tell us this information when we ask. They don't (and I have proof via many calls to T-Mobile over this topic, all of which are documented).
In the end, I filed *both* an FTC and FCC complaint. I do realize that nothing will come of either one, unless others file their own complaints (safety in numbers).
Reply to
Danny D.
On this LG Optimus L9 (model LG-P769), there is 1.8GB available as reported by the OS (which means the Android 4.1.2 OS took up 2.2 GB) but only 600MB available after LG & T-Mobile software was added by the carrier (which means they added 600MB of apps).
The problem is that nobody tells the consumer that the 32GB sd card can't be used for app storage; so you're stuck with the 600MB (which nobody tells you either).
Since the carrier *knows* this information, it is my heartfelt opinion that the carrier should truthfully and faithfully report the "usable" memory to the consumer, not the initial memory.
Hence my FTC and FCC complaints about deceptive advertising.
Reply to
Danny D.
The problem isn't where the Android OS is stored (since we all know it's stored in the 4GB "internal memory" of the phone).
The problem is that the key spec is "usable memory", not total initial memory.
It wouldn't matter if the usable memory were, um, usable, but, since the usable memory turns out to be 600 MB, that pretty much makes the phone unusable, even with a high-speed class-10 32GB microSD card.
The complaint is that the mobile carrier *knows* that the usable memory is only 600MB, but yet they persist in telling the user that the phone is 4GB with a 32GB flash card capability ... when they KNOW that the flash card can't be used (it remains empty) for apps and that the available space for apps is locked at 600MB.
All I am asking the FCC and FTC to do is ask the carrier to tell the truth. I'm not sure why people feel the truth should not be told, so, let me ask a question of the group:
QUESTION: Why shouldn't the carrier be told to tell the truth?
Reply to
Danny D.
My point exactly.
Why shouldn't the carrier be forced (by the FTC or FCC) to tell the consumer the truth?
Reply to
Danny D.
It's not.
Nowhere in any T-Mobile document on the web is the truth told.
Also, I have *many* (documented) communications with T-Mobile where they actually told me the wrong answer to the basic question of how much USABLE memory there was.
The answer they give is 4GB. The real answer is 600MB.
I'm not sure why I'm the only one (apparently) who feels T-Mobile should tell the truth, but, that's the whole point of solicitation opinions.
I guess I'm the only one who cares that the carriers not lie to the consumer. Either that, or I'm the only one dumb enough to (initially) believe the lie.
Reply to
Danny D.
Take the example of Google Chrome. It's 75MB. Yet it can't be removed.
There are SCORES of apps that can't be removed, yet, which will never be used.
Of course, the technical solution is to overwrite the operating system (e.g., Cyanogenmod), which allows you to control this, but, my point isn't that I can root the phone ... it's that the companies LIE to the consumer by intimating that you have 4GB of internal memory which can be augmented by 32GB of sdcard.
The truth is that you have 600MB of internal memory for apps, and it can't be augmented.
All I am asking is for the carrier to say the truth in their advertising.
Reply to
Danny D.
It's a long story, but the memory readout on the various Android versions is well known to be faulty.
Still, the baseline information is accurate: a) The phone starts with 4GB of internal memory. b) The phone can hold a 32GB sdcard. c) However, Google disallows moving the apps to the sdcard. d) And the carrier disallows deleting the pre-installed apps. e) Therefore, the phone is really a 600MB phone for apps!
I fully realize T-Mobile would never be able to sell a single one of these phones if they told the truth, that it is a 600MB phone.
In fact, I bought it, believing (erroneously) the advertising, which intimates it's a 4GB phone that can be augmented with a 32GB sdcard.
Turns out it's a 600MB phone which can't be augmented, period.
All I'm asking is for T-Mobile to tell the truth in its advertising.
If they told the truth, they'd never sell the phone, but, they should still tell the truth. Every time I call them, they tell me it's a 4GB phone that can be added to with a 32GB sdcard (which is a bold-faced lie for apps).
Reply to
Danny D.
It can be augmented with 32GB of flash, which can be used to store photos, videos, music, etc. It's just that the additional memory can't be used to store apps, as I understand it. Do you have photos, videos, music, etc that are hogging space and can go to the flash card?
Are you sure there isn't something wrong, like a corrupted file system, some apps half installed, not removed completely, etc that is making it look like memory isn't available? Maybe it's time to restore it to original, wipe it clean and start over?
Seems like a very unusual case we have here. This is the first phone I've ever heard of that ran out of memory before it was even put into service.
I have a similar Android, with 4GB flash, Jelly Bean OS. In addtion to the apps it came with, I've downloaded probably a dozen that I installed. Right now it reports the apps taking .62GB of memory and 1.13GB available.
What did they tell you when you asked? Did they give you a number? And if they didn't I would never assume that because the hardware says it has 4GB of flash, that it's all available. It's like buying a PC with a 1TB hard drive and expecting that it's all available, ie that the OS, apps etc don't take up some of it.
If it were me, I'd try to figure out what I'm doing that is so unique that it renders a phone that 99% of folks can use, useless. If you're a power user, why did you buy what appears to be an entry level phone? Isn't this like buying a $300 PC then complaining because it won't work to run the hot new gaming apps well?
If the phone is truly unusable, you can sell it on Ebay and buy another one that suits your needs.
Reply to
trader_4
I have a similar 4GB Android. It has all that came with it, plus at least a dozen apps that I downloaded. It still has 1.13GB avaialable. I suspect something is wrong with your phone that's eating up space, like a corrupted file system, some apps that didn't install correctly, etc.
Even assuming it is truely loaded with apps by the carrier, why can't you delete the apps that you don't need? Did you take a look at how much memory each app is taking? You have something unusual on there?
What did they tell you when you asked?
Is that how it works with a PC? Do they tell you how much RAM or hard drive is free versus how much the OS and apps loaded take up/use?
Reply to
trader_4

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