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AT&T Adds 61-Cent Admin Fee to All Customers

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More "Bait and Switch" billing practices

by Rusty Shackleford    May 28, 2013, 1:28 AM

Cell phone companies love to deflate the cost of the services they advertise to their customers by pushing the cost to another fee that they don't promote. Following AT&T's logic, why not simply replace the $30 family messaging plan with a $5 family messaging and a mandatory, and hidden, $25 administrative fee? Its been a while, but I'm fairly certain I was on an everything unlimited plan with Sprint for $99 that had a unmentioned smartphone fee.

I don't understand how these practices are even legal: how can you advertise one price for a service and then apply a additional mandatory fee for that same service? I guess that's the power of fine print, but it is very manipulative (and very reminiscent of our income tax system with its Federal withholding setup that's intentionally designed to mask what your costs really are).

The carriers do the exact same thing with the upgrade fees too by advertising a phone for one price and then imposing another fee onto you for that purchase. How is it legal to advertise a phone for $100 when it is really $136? I guess it's the fine print again but could you imagine McDonalds advertising a 25 cheese burger that comes with a surprise $1.75 cheese application fee?

The amazing thing is that this manipulation works. Even around here people swap prices back and forth for services and handsets and completely ignore the non-trivial fees that the companies tack on for themselves.

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