AT&T is Screwing Customers by Almost Tripling a Bogus Fee

DooKey

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Take a look at your AT&T bills for the last six months or so and you'll be surprised to find that the administrative fee on your bill has increased by almost triple. AT&T says this is because of the increased cost of doing business. I don't know if they sent anyone a notice of this increase because I use their prepaid service. Anyway, check out your bill and I bet you'll be pissed off. Sneaky aren't they? Oh yeah, this might boost their wireless revenue by $800M.

And unlike your typical monthly service fee, this isn't something you can really fight or avoid - AT&T is assessing the fee against all postpaid subscribers, regardless of their service plan or any grandfathering. Everybody pays.
 

katanaD

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a lot of companies do this. its also why they LOVE people who set up auto pay. Cause most of them never look at the bill or will notice small increases from time to time.
 

exlink

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Glad I moved away from AT&T almost a year ago for my cell phone plan. T-Mobile is extremely straight forward with their billing; what you see is what you pay. They don't quietly attach any bullshit fees on top of the price they quote you.
 

raz-0

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Went from $0.76 to $1.99 in March.

Don't know what auto pay has to do with noticing your bill went up. You should have stuff set to notify you something grabbed some of your money somewhere.
 

hesho

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its why ppl need to actually.. you know.. LOOK AT THEIR BILLS...

i know a lot of ppl that don't look at the bills at all. They just see a bill, go pay it, done. I imagine, anything they set to auto pay, they probably never even look at those either.
 

Sonicks

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Admin fees are all scams.

Use a toll road in Dallas and what should have been a $0.70 toll becomes $10.70 because of a ridiculous $10 admin fee.
 

dgingeri

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I gave up on AT&T when their CEO was being insulting to the customers and blaming them for the company's problems. Google's Project Fi is pretty nice, and has decent rates, if you don't mind being tracked all the time.
 

ManofGod

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Glad I moved away from AT&T almost a year ago for my cell phone plan. T-Mobile is extremely straight forward with their billing; what you see is what you pay. They don't quietly attach any bullshit fees on top of the price they quote you.

I use Mint Mobile now, which has 5GB of data a month, for $260 a year. It uses the T Mobile towers and in my area, works very well. That is why the more companies increase fees and services, the less money overall will I spend.
 

Teenyman45

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Wasn't there a time in the 1970's and 1980's when AT&T was forcibly broken up and for a little while there were all these phone companies offering real competition and better rates? Gee... wonder what happened to that.
 

Dead Parrot

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Until we can force our Congress critters to update the 'truth in advertising' regulations to state that Cell and Internet service advertised prices have to include all fees, taxes, and the actual cost of providing the service, these companies will keep pulling this crap.

Pretty soon they will add the fee processing fee. All while advertising a low low low $19.99/month service with a real per month cost of $58.27.
 

gamerk2

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Wasn't there a time in the 1970's and 1980's when AT&T was forcibly broken up and for a little while there were all these phone companies offering real competition and better rates? Gee... wonder what happened to that.

What happens is through gradual buyouts and mergers you go from having a lot of companies that each make up 5% of the market, to having just four. It's done gradually so you never have a clear market dominant player [EG: ATT wasn't ever huge where Verizon couldn't compete], so every merger they can argue "there's still competition". Same logic behind Sprint-T-Mobile.

You saw the same exact phenomena in the airline industry, and pretty much every industry that gets deregulated. You always end up with two dominant players, plus one or two bit players. Always.
 

U-238

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its why ppl need to actually.. you know.. LOOK AT THEIR BILLS CONTRACTS...

FTFY.

In almost all cases, every fee/tax/etc is noted in the contact that was signed. Either individually or as a group. The contract says that those fees can/will change without notice. When a person signs the contract they are acknowledging that they've read, understand, and agree to the terms in that contract. The only people they should be pissed at is themselves for signing a contract and agreeing to let AT&T do this.

But of course, most people never actually bother to read or try to understand what they're getting into. They just sign the dotted line because "oh shiny iphone!".
 

techie81

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AT&T does stuff like this, for example, they have “automatically” added HBO and other premium services to my package without my authority 3 times. It’s why I watch my bill like a hawk.
 

dgingeri

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Project fi is starting to sound good.
It is. I'm paying ~$83-85/month for 2 phones and service, but I only use about 300-500MB/month. Those who use more will pay more, but the rates are really good at $10/GB, even if you go over your predicted data amount, and no cap or banhammer to worry about.
 

Biznatch

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For all you people saying "you should have looked at your bill, stupid!!". How exactly would that help the situation? You look at your bill, notice the increased fee, now what? You already signed a contract saying they can fuck you with increased fees at any time, so it's not like you have a choice about paying it. Unless you mean so you can switch providers, but ATT is counting on most people being too lazy to do that over 1.50$. Plus the only other provider with equivalent service is VZ, who is already more expensive and pulls this exact same bullshit. Or you go TM/sprint with bills that have tax/fees included already, but the service area is much smaller (I went to tmoble from VZ and there is definitely a drop).
 

SvenBent

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man if just you know like in other countries where the government forces you to have transparent prices...
it amazing how much this country is run for the wealth of companies rather than its citizens
 

Teenyman45

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What happens is through gradual buyouts and mergers you go from having a lot of companies that each make up 5% of the market, to having just four. It's done gradually so you never have a clear market dominant player [EG: ATT wasn't ever huge where Verizon couldn't compete], so every merger they can argue "there's still competition". Same logic behind Sprint-T-Mobile.

You saw the same exact phenomena in the airline industry, and pretty much every industry that gets deregulated. You always end up with two dominant players, plus one or two bit players. Always.

And service goes to hell and monopoly/oligopoly pricing games come into play.
 

Spidey329

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By "cost of doing business" they're talking about that recent TimeWarner acquisition. They're just asking their customers to pay for it.

I mean, come on, they didn't even wait a whole lot between the approval and rate hike.
 

Uvaman2

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Its the we want to merge soon fee... And then they will triple it again for the after merger fee.
 

Teenyman45

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Its the we want to merge soon fee... And then they will triple it again for the after merger fee.

AT&T did just merge with Direct TV, the limp wristed attempt by the feds to block it got struck down by a judge with particular political bent.
 

dandirk

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For all you people saying "you should have looked at your bill, stupid!!". How exactly would that help the situation? You look at your bill, notice the increased fee, now what? You already signed a contract saying they can fuck you with increased fees at any time, so it's not like you have a choice about paying it. Unless you mean so you can switch providers, but ATT is counting on most people being too lazy to do that over 1.50$. Plus the only other provider with equivalent service is VZ, who is already more expensive and pulls this exact same bullshit. Or you go TM/sprint with bills that have tax/fees included already, but the service area is much smaller (I went to tmoble from VZ and there is definitely a drop).

Usually if you have a timed contract you can cancel without any penalty if they change fees. At least this was a well known contract loophole a few years back people would use since text fees would change fairly often. Now you might have to fight for it though...
 

lcpiper

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Glad I moved away from AT&T almost a year ago for my cell phone plan. T-Mobile is extremely straight forward with their billing; what you see is what you pay. They don't quietly attach any bullshit fees on top of the price they quote you.


Exactly why AT&T is likely doing this the way they are doing it. By taking increased charges that probably should be levied against the cost of the plan and shifting them into the obscure Administrative Fee realm, they keep the costs of their plans down because that's the marketing angle customers look at. "What is my plan going to cost?"

I don't really see it as all that scummy when you are already a customer, you have a contract, you know what your total bill runs, etc. It's one of the reasons my wife and I switched to T-mobile, bottom line, they are cheaper.

I don't get better cell coverage or call service, but it's cheaper, works good enough most of the time, and I feel the company is pretty straight up with me. And it's cheaper.
 

smokin9

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Usually if you have a timed contract you can cancel without any penalty if they change fees. At least this was a well known contract loophole a few years back people would use since text fees would change fairly often. Now you might have to fight for it though...


I was just going to comment the same thing... way back when I had Sprint,, they changed a fee like 6 cents or something... gave me a perfect reason to leave their shitty network I was under contract. They let me right out without much of a hassle...
 

sfsuphysics

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Don't have AT&T.. but ... EH.

Taxes, Fees, & Surcharges
Ca Emerg Tel. Users Surcharge
$0.14
Ca Telecom Relay Systems Surcharge
$0.06
Ca Teleconnect Fund
$0.12
Ca High Cost Fund(A) Surcharge
$0.04
Ca Advanced Serv Fund Surch
$0.06
Ca Universal Lifeline Surcharge
$0.58
San Francisco Emerg. Resp. Fee
$6.78
Local Utility Users Tax
$1.44
Other Charges
Federal Universal Service Fund
$1.22
Regulatory Recovery Fee
$0.16
Ca P.U.C. Fee
$0.06

More than half the taxes/fees on my plan on due to San Frantaxco because it thinks that slapping me with a monthly fee that is almost as much as some parcel taxes (in other cities more reasonable than here) is fine. A lot of those other surcharges/funds/etc are fine, I just wish they legally had to include those in the advertised price of the phone plan, don't tell me "$12 plus taxes and fees" tell me how fucking much it will cost INCLUDING taxes and fees, I mean this is not a sales tax amount of difference, these taxes and fees effectively double the monthly cost (which was gotten because it's a low cost for low usage plan)
 

Uvaman2

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Don't have AT&T.. but ... EH.



More than half the taxes/fees on my plan on due to San Frantaxco because it thinks that slapping me with a monthly fee that is almost as much as some parcel taxes (in other cities more reasonable than here) is fine. A lot of those other surcharges/funds/etc are fine, I just wish they legally had to include those in the advertised price of the phone plan, don't tell me "$12 plus taxes and fees" tell me how fucking much it will cost INCLUDING taxes and fees, I mean this is not a sales tax amount of difference, these taxes and fees effectively double the monthly cost (which was gotten because it's a low cost for low usage plan)
Don't be so sure its its because of SF.. these assholes make these fees official sounding, and i think they can call it whatever except 'tax' .. Verizon does the same shit, and I am pretty sure they tailor the fees to each individual... I know i managed to squeeze some discounts ( work), and in mere months, my bill came right back up discount was still there, but they obviously kept creeping the fees... Flat price or no sale.
 
D

Deleted member 245375

Guest
These days the cost of providing a terabyte of data service wirelessly for AT&T and the other carriers in the US (T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon - everybody else gets service from "The Big 4") is roughly $11 and change, seriously. That's the total breakdown for cost to provide that bandwidth over their cellular network, which has been paid for going on 25 years now. Adding new hardware to their network isn't costing them a damned thing because of the sheer profit they've been riding on for the past 20+ years, just like Apple does. Consumers paid for all this a long long time ago and they're still paying for it through the nose, the eye sockets, and bleeding cash from every pore for it.

America fucking sucks for cellular service, that's just the fact.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
529
This is why I switched my stuff over to StraightTalk. Bring any unlocked smart phone, keep your same number, they support phones for all 4 major carriers. Sim card cost me .99 and free shipping. Plans start from 35-55 and its all prepay. Saved me so much when I left Verizon and cut my bill to under half.

Link to sims
Link to plans
 

Tsumi

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Glad I got Cricket, ATT cell service without the ATT crap. $100 flat (fees and taxes included) a month for 5 lines, 5gb high speed with unlimited low speed.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Glad I got Cricket, ATT cell service without the ATT crap. $100 flat (fees and taxes included) a month for 5 lines, 5gb high speed with unlimited low speed.

That's not bad if you have to have multiple lines. I have just mine so $55 for unlimited with no throttle works fine for me.
 

entropism

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3,640
It is why for Cable + Mobile Phone I would never do autopay.

I sell cable, and I LOVE people who have my competition on autopay. Ran into a woman who swore her bill was $165.75 EVERY month. Comes out on autopay, and she "watches her bank like a hawk". I pull up her bill on the TV....

$254. She signed up right then & there.
 

Exavior

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They regrouped and bought the government.

They regrouped as Voltron. If every part of Voltron tried to operate independently of the others while being connected. Bet the left leg doesn't even know that the right arm and head purchased the government.

Don't have AT&T.. but ... EH.



More than half the taxes/fees on my plan on due to San Frantaxco because it thinks that slapping me with a monthly fee that is almost as much as some parcel taxes (in other cities more reasonable than here) is fine. A lot of those other surcharges/funds/etc are fine, I just wish they legally had to include those in the advertised price of the phone plan, don't tell me "$12 plus taxes and fees" tell me how fucking much it will cost INCLUDING taxes and fees, I mean this is not a sales tax amount of difference, these taxes and fees effectively double the monthly cost (which was gotten because it's a low cost for low usage plan)

The issue here is taxes and fees are different everywhere so I can understand this. you also have taxes that are based on how much certain parts of your bill is. I work for a telecommunication company and some of the ways that we have to tax people gives us headaches. If I am thinking of this correctly (mind you I am in charge of the electronics / plant side not accounting / customer service) if you call a person long distance within your state you get charged just state tax, if you call to another state then you have to pay federal and state tax. Doesn't matter if you are on an unlimited plan or not, this has to be computed based on what percent of your calls are going where. There is one section that I think you have to pay state tax on whatever federal tax you pay. Unless that is backwards and you pay federal tax on your state tax payment. However not for everything, only for what you pay taxes on for certain items. Mix that with the fact that different states have different taxes and fees (or in some cases cities) you then have a problem where somebody advertising nationwide can't give a price as that price won't be the same everywhere. Now, I will say that anything that is set in stone every month should be part of that value. That is how we do it, things like 911 which is a set fee and other charges like that are part of your base pricing. Only things that might change month to month are left out in the "plus taxes and fees" section. Mainly because we don't like the headache of calls of people complaining that we told them their bill will be X when really it is $12+ more vs us telling them your bill will be this plus a few more dollars. However we can do that since we only service a couple of counties in one state so we know how much our fees are since they don't change in any service area.
 
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