Sunday, July 8, 2007

AT&T Ruining iPhone experience...

AT&T is throughly ruining the iPhone experience.

I would encourage all new iPhone owners who are using AT&T for the first time to check their monthly statement.

A $36 activation fee + a $70 a month plan (Including the $10 more for 1,500 text messages) + 8.9% tax does NOT equal $139.73. Yet AT&T has no explanation as to why this costs what it does. It should be AROUND $117.

When I called AT&T on Friday, they said it was part of the plan and there was no way around it. I was told to call back on Sunday and speak with a representative, (which by the way is IMPOSSIBLE to find on their web site, if it exists at all) to find out that AT&T's customer service department is not open on Sunday.

Apple is known for their customer service, and yet AT&T is going out of their way to make it as hard as possible to use the iPhone, and even get ahold of a representative.

Can ANYONE give an explanation as to AT&T's logic, and again, I would encourage everyone to check their first iPhone bill to make sure AT&T is not trying to pull a fast one on all new iPhone owners.

36 Comments:

At July 9, 2007 at 10:27 AM , Blogger Brandon said...

Check your bill under MISC.. There's probably around 20$ in taxes... 911 fees, etc.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:31 AM , Blogger Kenneth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:32 AM , Blogger Mark Ballard said...

I don't have an iPHone yet. All I see and read says WAIT. Probably because of issues like the one you bring up. Is the bill like my home phone with all types of state taxes and surcharges added to it? That's the only thing I can think of.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Robert said...

yea that is what i was going to say, probably network access fees, and 911 service. maybe a extra charge for voice mail.\

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Ted Berg said...

Kenneth -

($36 + $70) * 1.089 = $115.43.

If you can't do the math, or use a calculator... I don't know what to tell you.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:37 AM , Blogger John said...

@kenneth:

$36 + $70 = $106
8.9% of $106 = $9.43
$106 + $9.43 = $115.43

Where do you get $126?

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:39 AM , Blogger Rob said...

if this is your first AT&T bill, there's an easy answer to this question.

AT&T's billing cycle goes from something like the 13th of the month... so if you activated on the 29th... you've got to pay the first partial month of service (29th-13th) PLUS your full first month's service.

Easy explanation - you're not being overcharged, you're being charged for 40 odd days. Next month's bill will be normal. Hope this clears it up for you.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:39 AM , Blogger rdrr said...

I looks like the monthly service fee has a 10% tax on it. AT&T listed $59.99, and I was charged $65.99. And the "one time activation charge" has a 12% tax on it. They stated it would be $36, and I was charged $40.38. Finally there is a $5.47 Government Fee & Taxes, with a total bill of 111.84! :(

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:40 AM , Blogger Wrecking Cru said...

Actually, the 8.9% should only be on 70$ monthly fee. They shouldn't be taxing the activation fee - that's just absurd.

36+70*1.089 = 112.23

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:40 AM , Blogger Evan said...

If it was your first bill you may have some prorated charges... You should post an image of the bill.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Marc said...

With wireless service you ALWAYS pay 1 FULL month in advance. You rarely buy your phone on your actually billing date. Therefore you must pay the 1st full month, PLUS a prorated monthly fee for the days leading up to your first bill cycle date. EXAMPLE: If you buy your phone on the 5th, and your bill cycle date is the 10th, when your first bill arrives, you'll pay a full month + 5 days of service before the bill date. Sad AT&T couldn't explain that. It's the most frequently asked question in wireless phone call centers.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Kenneth said...

Sorry, I didn't see that the $10 was being included in the $70. Even so, taxes and surcharges will eat you alive. AT&T ought to itemize those if it isn't.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:46 AM , Blogger nicholas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:50 AM , Blogger rdrr said...

OK, maybe the montly fee is prorated, but the one time activation fee was stated to be $36, and I was charged $40.37, why is that prorated and or taxed at 12%?

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Kendall said...

Check your bill. There's taxes, plus when I called they said I somehow had "Roadside Assistance" on the phone for $2.99 a month. They took it off without a fight, but this makes me nervous to see what else they may try and pull that's dodgy.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:56 AM , Blogger GeneralWise said...

Wait till next month. Even excluding the cycle issues where you get charged for half the next cycle, you will discover an interesting fact -- Cable, Phone, Mobile and Satellite companies are not bound by the fair advertisement laws. Basically, you can claim that something costs $X and then add on $Y as surcharges, regulatory recovery fees, and all sorts of other fees. $Y can sometimes approach 60% of $X! So essentially, there is NO WAY to know what your plan will cost ahead of time. And try asking the sales rep, they will insist that it will cost $X...until you give them your credit card, at which point they own you.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:56 AM , Blogger Erik said...

Everything in the billing detail is pretty well outlined.

FWIW, I have the "iPhone plan" + unlimited M2M messaging without actually having an iPhone and my bill after taxes each month is right at $70 or so.

I've also never had a problem with the phone reps. So long as I am nice, they are nice and usually give me whatever I ask, within reason of course.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:57 AM , Blogger Hermes said...

I wonder how long it will be until it is open up to other carriers?

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Robert said...

Hey, it looks like the earlier comments have pretty much covered your problems. Every cell phone contract I've ever had has had a ridiculous number of 'taxes' and 'government fees' and the like, which nobody told me I'd be charged for, until I actually was.

I really wish that those taxes and fees would be bundled into the charge that Cingular/Whoever quotes, kind of like the way the posted price of gasoline or cigarettes always includes the applicable taxes.

Alas, this is not to be. Yes, telecom is a sleazy industry. The bastards.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 11:16 AM , Blogger Kassandra said...

Like a few people said, you always pay for a month in advance. You also pay for a prorated fee of the month you signed into the contract in, which would be where the 15 or some odd dollars came from.

As for those who said some things about activation fees, "the new AT&T" actually has a promotion going on to waive activation fees. This will show up within your first three billing cycles. Now this is a promotion that we have been doing at Radioshack and it could possibly not be offered on the iPhone, but it could be.

As for the ones who said the activation fee was 40 dollars??? The activation fee would be a one time charge and no prorated for anything, long explaination short: you got bamboozled.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Lane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 11:44 AM , Blogger Lane said...

From apple.com on "Learn more about plans and activation." They've got charges for everything.

"What is the Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge?
The Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge is a charge assessed by AT&T and is not a tax or government-mandated charge. This charge is subject to change from time to time as the cost of compliance changes. Its purpose is to defray AT&T’s costs associated with payment of fees and compliance with various initiatives imposed by the government. Please note that costs may be incurred and charged prior to initiation of any of the respective services."

I highly doubt you got screwed, you just noticed the outrageous charges associated with buying that phone.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 11:50 AM , Blogger BuffyLyon said...

The missing $24.30 is the NSA listening fee. You don't really expect them to listen to your calls for free, do you? But since its classified, they can't tell you about it. Or even what it is. And if you tell anyone they may c
.. ..
LOST CONNECTION

 
At July 9, 2007 at 12:01 PM , Blogger Tom said...

Hermes,

Two years. AT&T has it exclusively until then.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 12:02 PM , Blogger Adam said...

It's just the previous month's pro-rated service charge. Nothing special.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 1:32 PM , Blogger Beyond the Consumer said...

I've never had a rep claim that it will absolutely cost $X. They've willingly admitted that they add taxes and fees. What irks me is that the reps can't (or won't) tell you what those fees are, or how much they will be. You're signing into a contract blind to what you will actually be paying and they make no apologies for it.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 2:25 PM , Blogger Anthony said...

Taxes are not 8.9%, they are roughly 20% of what your bill is, where did u get a figure like 8.9% from?

 
At July 9, 2007 at 2:30 PM , Blogger Anthony said...

activation fee is charged except if you are living California I believe.

So it goes as follows

$36 act + $70 monthly + 10 txt =$116

times roughly 20% and it comes out to about $23.20 in taxes, and then add that to the $116 and u get the magic number $139.20

 
At July 9, 2007 at 3:16 PM , Blogger the C.O.O. said...

I thought the same thing when I looked at my first bill. Some of these folks are right, there is a pro-rated charge for 3 days (29, 30, 1) because, at least in Boston, the cycle starts on the 2nd of the month. Once I deducted the 3 days (which is detailed on the my account section of the website if you look at the bill detail rather than summary) the charge was correct. Still expensive. and I agree... not too happy with AT&T so far.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 4:17 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Don't forget "FCC" surcharges (fees that the FCC charges AT&T that they pass on to the customer; all telecom companies do this) and the like. When you're dealing with telephones, there are all sorts of extra charges that you might not see if you're not paying attention.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 5:07 PM , Blogger Anthony said...

I'm a Apple fan boy and for the life of me can't figure out why they'd team with AT&T. Especially after it has been proven that AT&T has allowing the NSA to reroute all of the traffic (both telecom and internet) for analysis. AT&T is an ethical company.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 5:28 PM , Blogger Matthew said...

Really? This guy blinded by his Apple fanboy goggles? Has he never gotten a cell phone bill before...there are more than 8% taxes also this is prob a prorated bill. And this story makes it to the first page on DIGG. I am losing faith in DIGG BIG TIME!

 
At July 9, 2007 at 10:17 PM , Blogger Creative Guy said...

I have a name for iPhone buyers. I call them iDiots.

All that money and headache to own a device which has the sole purpose of assisting others in complicating your life!

;-)

 
At July 11, 2007 at 11:06 PM , Blogger Randall G. said...

Being your first bill, it is almost certainly prorate charges. I sell AT&T phones every day and I have to say prorate is easily one of the most misunderstood parts of cellular billing. I rarely see a salesperson who doesn't explain it in some convoluted way. If prorate is the case, then your next bill should be right on track.

 
At August 6, 2007 at 7:12 AM , Blogger Charles said...

I just received my bill, and was shocked as well, $216.00 - OMG! So, I went on-line and it was spelled out for me in black & white. I was charged for July & August service. $36 activation charge (ridiculous, but the norm), $1.79 - 411 call (not sure about that), taxes $27.00, and another $28 for music ring back downloads (oops!). SO, the bill is accurate. People forget about the prorated, month in advance billing, which ALL carries do. Oh, bill due 8.24.07 - everything should be normal next month.

 
At June 16, 2009 at 7:39 AM , Blogger Evan said...

Also, remember that there is approx. a 20% cell phone tax. Pretty much with any carrier you pay extra taxes.

 

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