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flipper_phoner's profile

New Member

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2 Messages

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 3:25 AM

Activation and Upgrade Fees

I am trying to understand the fees associated with replacing a phone that is no longer working.

I have spent the last few days talking with numerous AT&T representatives (online, on the phone, and in person) and everyone has a different understanding of which fees apply to which scenarios and which fees can be waived.

My flip phone lost its ability to connect to the cellular network while I was in the middle of a call.  I would like to replace it with another flip phone and so far this has proven to be a trying ordeal.  Everyone I talk to tries to upsell me with offers, quoting low prices while leaving out the extra fees associated with the offer.  When I make it clear that I want another flip phone they proceed, but they don't mention the additional fees unless I ask specifically.  And it sounds like the fee will just show up as a surprise on the bill, because none of them are sure exactly which situations those fees apply to.  

After we've been customers of AT&T for over 25 years and after spending what feels like hundreds of hours speaking with representatives, the best I was able to get in this situation is that if I buy the phone from a third party then the activation fee doesn't apply and the upgrade fee will probably be waived.  All of this just to 'upgrade' to a phone that works.  I have yet to buy the new phone because I don't feel confident that surprise fees won't show up.  I am thinking of getting a prepaid phone instead, especially since the quality of flip phones has declined and I figure I can expect to go through this every year or two.

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ACE - Sage

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117K Messages

2 years ago

An activation fee is for adding a new line of service. There is no activation fee for a replacement phone or an upgrade.

There is however an upgrade fee if you buy a new phone from AT&T.

If you purchase a new phone from a third party and move your own SIM card and move your own data, there is no charge for "upgrading" your phone.

Anytime you purchase a phone from AT&T or from an AT&T authorized retailer, and you receive an AT&T SIM card as part of your purchase you will be charged and upgrade fee of $35 on your next bill.

⚠️ if you are purchasing from a third party like amazon, you should be aware that Amazon ads are not always correct.

Anything that is advertised as an AT&T flip phone must be an LTE device in order to continue working on AT&T.

Best Buy will sell you a phone that works on AT&T, full price, no upgrade fee.

IMEI check

https://www.att.com/buy/byod/identify?devicetype=phone

(edited)

1 Message

2 months ago

I bought a new phone from an Apple store, and now I see in my new AT&T bill a $35 one-time upgrade fee. I chatted with an AT&T rep and they could not provide a legitimate reason for that fee. They kept saying that it's a standard, valid fee everytime one upgrades their phone and that everyone is charged the same. LOL. This is one of those things that major companies do "because they can". It sounds like a scam, really. They charge you for NOTHING. I am still with AT&T and am paying my normal bills but they cannot explain to me exactly what I paid the $35 for? What did ATT do exactly to deserve the $35 fee? What expenses were incurred because someone upgraded their phone? Again, saying "it is what it is" is not a legitimate reason. It's taking advantage of loyal customers who have no choice but to pay it. Unless ATT can specify exactly what that fee is for (what service did they provide that I am paying the upgrade fee for) then it's a reflection of their GREED and total disregard for customers.

ACE - Master

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10.4K Messages

2 months ago

Every time you get a new SIM from AT&T, they charge you $35, even if it’s a new SIM with the same number.  I got my last phone direct from Apple, unlocked with no SIM, but since my previous phone had a physical SIM and I had to convert it to eSIM during the setup from my old phone, I got charged $35.  I think the only way to avoid is is to get a SIM free phone that uses a physical SIM, and use an active physical SIM that you already have, or be in some program or deal that avoids the upgrade charge.

To state the obvious, they are charging it because they can.  Regardless of whether one feels that’s right or not, it is what it is.  People have a choice of paying it, signing up for AARP (members supposedly don’t have to pay the $35 fee), or going to another carrier.

ACE - Sage

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117K Messages

2 months ago

@dwill05 

I hope you disputed that $35 charge. If you buy a SIM free phone they should not be charging you activation.

ACE - Master

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10.4K Messages

2 months ago

@formerlyknownas   Whether they should or shouldn’t, I think your info is out of date with regards to AT&T not charging the $35 fee.  Whether they call it upgrading or activation, I believe that getting a new AT&T SIM will trigger the charge, as I said.

No, I didn’t dispute the charge.  I didn’t think I would have any chance of winning because I know that’s exactly what they would have told me and in any case it’s worth $35 to me to never have to deal with AT&T’s customer service.

New Member

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2 Messages

1 month ago

I am the original poster and I am happy to say I ditched AT&T for a low cost carrier (ellow-tay) after encountering the above problems.  The new carrier is very transparent about fees (and there aren't many and they are very low) and I have been very happy with them.  Also, it is intersesting to note that my flip phone started working again after I unlocked it from the AT&T network.  That tells me that the problems I was having were due to AT&T machinations to force people to stay with them.

ACE - Sage

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117K Messages

1 month ago

Tello is a prepaid MVNO of T-Mobile.  No credit is extended You have to pay before you get service. If cheap T-Mobile works for you that's fine. It was up to you to choose a provider.

You could have gone to Best buy and purchase a new AT&T flip phone and moved your own SIM card and you wouldn't have paid anything to att.  

Some of us have been doing that for years.

🤨

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