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AT&T Confirms Device Upgrade Fee Rising to $36

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Ha

Tofuchong

Feb 10, 2012, 7:18 PM
Gotta make up that loss to T-Mobile somewhere right?

Wow - At&t truly cares about their customers.
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Mossberg

Feb 10, 2012, 8:45 PM
Guess they gotta dig themselves out somehow. Laughing
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HawkeyeOC

Feb 10, 2012, 9:18 PM
Tofuchong said:
Wow - At&t truly cares about their customers.


I hear this line from half the people on phonescoop about whatever carrier they have a problem with at the time.

The truth is that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and any other carrier our there are structured as corporations, which by law have to "care" about their stockholders which may or may not be customers.
As a stockholder, I would try to run any idiot CEO out of town if they started caring so much they went broke trying to cater to everyones wants.
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Tofuchong

Feb 10, 2012, 9:22 PM
Complete agreement on all points there, but at&t's statement is bogus, as you know. They said that devices are more complex these days and more expensive, which is why the cost is increasing. ---How does the upgrade fee have anything to do with that, I thought an upgrade was supposed to be the carrier rewarding your Loyalty by letting you have a new device for low or no cost. This really does not seem like a reward at all, most like a punishment for things simply going the way they are.
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HawkeyeOC

Feb 10, 2012, 10:57 PM
Yea, I agree with you there. Most of AT&Ts explanation was bogus and it was almost laughable reading it. The only part that made some sense was that they hadn't raised the fee in 10 years
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Versed

Feb 10, 2012, 11:32 PM
Yeah, must take a whole lot to either 1. take said SIM card from customers existing phone and put it into new phone. (that is if said customer didn't do it themselves.. 2. Take new sim out of plastic sim holder credit card looking thingie and toss it in sim slot in phone. OK there is a chance the employee, agent or oneself might get a boo boo from the rough edges. This is insane. Then again, don't the other carriers pull the same crap?
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 12:56 AM
That's not what the fee is for, the fee is simply an attempt to recoup part of the money lost by offering at a steep discount, usually around 75% or more off the retail price of the phone....

With an upgrade you get a $500-$700 phone for a fraction of the cost, the upgrade fee is simply an attempt recoup some of the difference...

That being said, it is a rather pointless fee and based on my time working for at&t I would estimate that only about 10-20% of people who are charged an upgrade fee ever actually pay it, everyone else asks for it to be waived and it is almost always granted, the only exception is if a customer is really obnoxious, this can cause to just dig in and refuse to waive anything...

When we were visited by at&t cor...
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Beatertruck

Feb 11, 2012, 10:22 AM
T Bone, I also work for AT&T and have been told a completely different thing with the upgrade fees. We've been told that the upgrade fees go towards network improvement, nothing about making up the cost of the phone. The other thing is that it is hard to get upgrade fees waived if the customer has done it once already. I can understand to the point where the customer is boiling mad, but to just do it, doesn't really happen. I had a customer receive a lecture from a customer service rep (over the phone) about the upgrade fee and why they will not waive them. With all of what you said, and what I've been told, I wonder what the real truth is behind it.
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 12:30 PM
I last worked for at&t in August 2010, and it's possible they've become more strict since that time...


Did you work at a COR store or in customer service? Because what you are told to do depends on where in the company you work. COR store agents aren't authorized to waive the upgrade fee, or to give any credits, however customer service agents are authorized to waive or credit practically anything they want....

Store agents are expected to be 'hard asses' about policy, but customer service agents are told the exact opposite...

I think the reason they want store agents to be stricter is simply because the store agents can develop a personal relationship with a customer over time, if they are too lenient, the customer can take adv...
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Beatertruck

Feb 11, 2012, 12:49 PM
I work for an Authorized Retailer for AT&T and everything we have heard comes from our AT&T rep. When things like this happen, we quiz him as to the (real, I hope) reasons for these changes.
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 1:02 PM
Aaahh....and authorized retailers have even less authority than COR store agents....

I can see why corporate would want authorized retailers to not budge on these kinds of things....you don't want customers wasting the time of someone who is supposed to be there for sales......

But customer service is different, customer service is there specifically to deal with those kinds of issues, and customer service has more leeway for personal discretion...

Or at least they did when I last worked in an at&t call center in August 2010....

The last audit of at&t that was done by corporate while I was there was in Feb-March 2010, and that is when we got our instructions to go easy on the upgrade fee and to not be aggressive about policy but ...
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branchc

Feb 11, 2012, 1:36 PM
Although I disagree with the fee, there are many more things we need to do to phones that are bought today. Yes, we do move over the SIM (or mostly these days get them a new one that is LTE capable) but we also copy phone numbers, and pictures, and set up email, and pair their Bluetooth, and pair their tablet with their phone hotspot, and explain the new operating system in the phone they purchased.Where once the transaction took 5-10 min it usually takes 40 min.
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 1:43 PM
My last upgrade in October 2010 took more than an hour, not that I couldn't have easily done everything for myself but it is nice to just walk out of the store having everything done for you and not needing to do anything to finish the process.

When I buy my next phone it won't be in store, I'll order it all online and so I'll be doing all that stuff by myself, which will be annoying...
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Versed

Feb 11, 2012, 5:10 PM
T-Bone if I order it online via the Premier site that is in agreement with my employer, they don't charge the upgrade fee, if I get one in store they do, and as in a previous post, I spend a few mins. on 611 and they credit it back to my account.
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 5:26 PM
I'm not worried about the upgrade fee because I know if I'm charged for it (which I'm not supposed to be according to my FAN discount) I can easily get it waived...but I'll be getting it from Best Buy rather than the at&t store because Best Buy is doing a promotion where they will give you a $50 gift card if you do your upgrade through them before December 31, 2012...I know I'll be upgrading sometime this year and if I can get an extra $50 for it....why not?
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Versed

Feb 11, 2012, 5:50 PM
Without a doubt its a good deal, BB is one of the few resellers that I would use.
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 6:22 PM
And I'll order online rather than in store so their employees can't foul up my account!
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Versed

Feb 11, 2012, 7:23 PM
My mom upgraded through them, AT&T wanted like $65 for her phone, it was free through them and they didn't mess with her plan at all.
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 10:17 PM
Well, Walmart is worse than Best Buy...and screwing up the account on an upgrade is less common than screwing it up with a new activation....but I've seen it happen.........

Although Wirefly and Let's Talk are worse than Best Buy or Walmart...
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dlmjr

Feb 13, 2012, 3:15 PM
As has been pointed out, ATT's prices and upgrade practices are somewhat cheaper than Verison.
If they raise the price of the phones, they can't advertise lower prices.
It's easier to tack on the increased upgrade fee and still claim to have lower phone prices.
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NonBiasedRep

Feb 14, 2012, 9:15 AM
Your missing the fact (or refusing to accept) that the majority of highend smartphones WITH the fee is still cheaper. So the claim to lower phone prices would still be applicable.
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phonemonkey

Feb 11, 2012, 11:43 AM
You don't think that it takes more network to run faster and faster phones?
Faster devices drain more on the network.
More faster devices drain even more on the network.

Upgrading equipment to 4g?
No extra cost there, huh?
Acquiring spectrum doesn't cost them billions

Not at all...
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 5:27 PM
But I don't buy the notion that the upgrade fee goes to pay for that stuff... if it did they wouldn't call it 'an upgrade fee' they'd call it
'a network improvement fee' or something...what really goes to pay for all that stuff are the monthly service charges...
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dlmjr

Feb 13, 2012, 3:17 PM
It's all in one big pot.
Income is income.

ATT is aligning their phone prices with competitors, but don't want to announce a price increase.
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mighty14

Feb 11, 2012, 10:10 PM
You are absolutely correct in stating that newer technology costs more but trust me when I say that the amount taken in on a monthly basis from existing subscription costs easily pays for those improvements. The main reason that companies like AT&T and Verizon cost so much more monthly is because they have many more physical locations and overhead than other providers but I would argue that Verizon has at least twice as many corporate retail store not to mention dealers and they do not charge an upgrade fee unless you do it earlier than your contract expiration...
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 10:13 PM
Verizon might not have an upgrade fee, but I think on the whole Verizon has more bogus fees and charges than any other carrier, Verizon really likes to nickel and dime you to death for every little thing....at&t not so much....Verizon even charges for visual voicemail for goodness sake (or at least they did at one time, maybe it has been abolished)
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mighty14

Feb 11, 2012, 10:21 PM
I am not disputing that Verizon charges for plenty of things in addition to the regular service but I would much rather pay the 2.99 a month for a service I actually use like visual voicemail versus a one time charge for no additional service provided or benefit offered. Your argument could be invalidated simply if you have a iphone with Verizon (free VVM) or use a free service like Google voice. Besides additional feature charges what else do you Verizon charges you extra for?
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T Bone

Feb 11, 2012, 10:31 PM
Verizon is famous for crippling their phones, by which I mean they add a ROM that removes or hides features which are actually built in to the phone so that they can charge customers to activate them, or to use the Verizon alternative which has a fee rather than using what is already in the phone free..

So a lot of the stuff like V Cast and whatnot that you have to sign up to sign up for actually have alternatives that are free and built into the operating system except that Verizon disables them before the phone is sold to the customer...

Unfortunately....at&t has recently started doing this as well...I've noticed that whenever I try to install Blackberry Maps the phone removes it, because at&t wants you to sign up for at&t navigato...
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Versed

Feb 12, 2012, 4:48 PM
Except Visual Voice Mail on supported devices is free on AT&T, so thats 2.99x24 months. Which is $71.76 almost x the cost of AT&T's upgrade fee.
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planethulk

Feb 11, 2012, 6:47 PM
They weren't catering to their stockholders. They are catering to their Executive Officers who need multimillion dollar bonuses.
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