Cell Phone Upgraders Hold on to your Wallets!

October 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

Have you recently upgraded your cell phone?  You might want to take another look at your first post-upgrade bill.

I recently upgraded my iPhone 4S to a new iPhone that uses LTE.  It looks like AT&T may have tried to sneak a little more money from my wallet.

I was on the DataPro 2GB 4G plan.  Since my new phone is LTE capable, they moved me to the DataPro 2GB 4G LTE plan.  Both plans cost the same, so it should be a wash.

On my bill, aside from the insane $36 upgrade fee, there was a Plan Added and a Plan Removed section.  The DataPro 2 GB 4G LTE plan was added at a pro-rated cost of 2.50, for the dates 9/24 – 9/26.  The DataPro 2GB 4G plan was removed with a credit of 1.29, for the dates of 9/25 – 9/26.

So, essentially, AT&T was charging me for both data plans on 9/24.

Yes, it only ended up being $1.21 that I was being unfairly charged, but it’s insane that they would try to sneak an additional fee in there like that.  And while I’m sure they will claim that it was some software glitch or something, I’d almost bet money that this was some “optimization” that was put in place to “earn” money from customers.

What, you don’t think anyone at any major business would do something like that?  How about in the banking industry?

According to Clark Howard, a consumer watchdog, some years ago, some very greedy people involved in the field of banking figured out that they could optimize the order that checks were processed to increase income to the bank.  How so?  They would look at all the checks for each account each day.  If the total of all of the checks for account X would cause that account to be overdrawn, the bank would then alter the order of the checks so they could charge the most NSF fees.  For example, lets say you wrote out 5 checks that all were processed on the same day:

Check 1 for $15
Check 2 for $8
Check 3 for $18
Check 4 for $150
Check 5 for $50

You only had $195 left in your account.  Check 5 was written out to a friend you owed money to, and asked them not to deposit it until Friday, but they didn’t listen.  If they did, you wouldn’t have any NSF fees at all, since the first 4 checks only totaled $191.

Anyhow, if the checks were processed in the order they came in, only the last check would have caused you to overdraft.  You’d get hit with a $30+ fee.  But, since the banks decided to “optimize” the order your checks were processed (probably as a “service” to you), they would take checks 4 and 5 first, causing you to go NSF on check 5, then they would process checks 1, 2, and 3, giving you a total of 4 NSF fees, probably in excess of $120.

The cell phone companies aren’t yet quite as brazen as the banks, but they seem to hold their customers with a similar level of contempt.  It absolutely would not surprise me if this was intentionally done to extract a little more money from each upgrading customer.


Entry filed under: iPhone.

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