Why does AT&T charge an activation fee for existing customers who upgrade?

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debbiep

Member
Bronze
Mar 11, 2010
37
2
8
#1
Since ordering my iPhone5, had been reading about paying an activation fee. It bothered me, I'm not changing carriers, not changing plans, nada. So, why am I paying this? Why am I being penalized for staying with the same carrier? Tuesday when setting up my phone I called AT&T and asked if I was being charged. It was confirmed. I then mentioned there was no reason for me to be a loyal customer when treated like this. I was placed on hold, the gal came back and said it was waived. Amazing. We read about how many millions of iPhones are purchased in a 24 hour period, the huge frenzy that goes on but we never hear mention of how much money the cell carriers are also making on these 'activation' fees for an already active service. Ask, perhaps you will be treated as a loyal customer also!
 

VOLS34

Zealot
Gold
Jun 25, 2010
1,118
79
48
#3
The problem I have with activation fee is price. The $36 is a bit extreme. When it was $18 it seemed a bit high as well & when they raised it they didn't just go up a couple bucks. I've had it waived before as well as a ton of fees that me & my kids have accidentally or not accidentally accrued.
 

raf66

New Member
Sep 26, 2012
12
0
1
#4
Yep, I got charged a $30 "upgrade" fee from VZW when I pre-ordered the iPhone 5. It's the first time anyone in my family was charged such a fee when using their upgrade, and we've been with VZW for a long time. I read that some were having success getting it waived with various carriers. Unfortunately when I talked to VZW when activating my phone last Friday afternoon, I wasn't successful. The VZW rep told me that it's a new fee that went into effect last spring in order to help VZW offset some costs associated with subsidizing new phones.
 

billnye97

Contributor
Silver
Jun 21, 2007
848
75
28
Cleveland
#5
Yep, I got charged a $30 "upgrade" fee from VZW when I pre-ordered the iPhone 5. It's the first time anyone in my family was charged such a fee when using their upgrade, and we've been with VZW for a long time. I read that some were having success getting it waived with various carriers. Unfortunately when I talked to VZW when activating my phone last Friday afternoon, I wasn't successful. The VZW rep told me that it's a new fee that went into effect last spring in order to help VZW offset some costs associated with subsidizing new phones.
The problem I have with that is that I'm locked into a contract for two years. That is why it is subsidized. They make it on the back end. I didn't have that problem this time around because I bought the phone out of contract for a ridiculous amount.
 

Girdler

Contributor
Bronze
Aug 1, 2012
283
44
28
27
#7
Pre-ordered my iPhone through Apple, activated over the phone through Verizon's customer service. The Apple website informed of a activation fee, but Verizon's customer support did not. Also, when I check my bill online, no mention of the activation fee. Guess I'll just chalk this one up as being lucky.
 

Jdsmitty10

Member
Bronze
Oct 19, 2010
229
14
18
#8
I plan on switching from att to verizon when my contract is up on the 25th of oct. I plan on telling verizon unless they waive the fee i will be sticking with Att.. hopefully that works...It is ridiculous you have to pay a fee to sign a contract for 2 years with any of the companies...they should pay us to sign a contract LOL..
 

raf66

New Member
Sep 26, 2012
12
0
1
#9
I plan on switching from att to verizon when my contract is up on the 25th of oct. I plan on telling verizon unless they waive the fee i will be sticking with Att.. hopefully that works...It is ridiculous you have to pay a fee to sign a contract for 2 years with any of the companies...they should pay us to sign a contract LOL..
While I agree with this sentiment, the carrier response would probably be that they already DO pay us to sign a contract, in the form of subsidizing a portion of the cost of our phones. My iPhone 5 32 GB was $299 and I think the full, unsubsidized price is something in the neighborhood of $749. While I highly doubt that Apple charges the carriers full price, I assume that the carriers' cost for the iPhone is more than what we're charged for a subsidized phone. Hence the carriers are "paying us" SOME amount to sign a contract with them. But, again, I certainly am not happy about the new $30 charge, but apparently my negotiation "skills" weren't honed enough to get it waived.
 

Zanthe

#apple
Gold
Aug 9, 2007
2,630
314
83
#10
I had my activation fee waived last time.

I now have three activation fees pending (2 phones and an iPad). I intend to get them waived as soon as the phones arrive and I have them activated. Pretty sure I'll get it done.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
32
Louisville, KY
#11
It has nothing to do with activating or registering with the FCC. It's purely about grabbing more money when subsidizing, without having to raise the price of the phone itself. When you buy your phone outright and switch your SIM card to it, there's no activation fee. Expect more fees like this to seep in as time goes on as they want to get rid of their loyal customers and replace them with profitable ones.
 

raqball

Evangelist
Gold
Jan 30, 2011
1,079
199
63
So. California
#12
The activation fee is nothing more than a way to make money for doing nothing.. For every one million activations = $36 million dollars..

Existing customers who add a new line of service should not pay it as the carrier should be thrilled you chose them..

New customers should not pay it because the carrier should be thrilled you chose them..

As far as the statement that the carriers are already giving you a break on the phone? Yes they are but trust me, they are making that back in NO TIME FLAT via your monthly service charges..

My AT&T bill is $190 a month for 2 phones with 700 minutes, 3GB data and texting.

As far as I know they all make money by the truck load, except T-Mobile maybe..

The activation fee is ridiculous no matter how you look at it..
 

ipod

Member
Bronze
Sep 14, 2007
340
17
18
#13
Eff activation fees, it's a scam. It's just a way to nickel and dime us. The price really isn't worth crying about, it's just the concept of the idea that sucks.
 

Jdsmitty10

Member
Bronze
Oct 19, 2010
229
14
18
#14
While I agree with this sentiment, the carrier response would probably be that they already DO pay us to sign a contract, in the form of subsidizing a portion of the cost of our phones. My iPhone 5 32 GB was $299 and I think the full, unsubsidized price is something in the neighborhood of $749. While I highly doubt that Apple charges the carriers full price, I assume that the carriers' cost for the iPhone is more than what we're charged for a subsidized phone. Hence the carriers are "paying us" SOME amount to sign a contract with them. But, again, I certainly am not happy about the new $30 charge, but apparently my negotiation "skills" weren't honed enough to get it waived.
I agree about the cheaper priced phones. But like others said, its just another way to make extra money when they are already making tons off of us already. I got my ATT activation waived 2 yrs ago just by calling and telling them it was ridiculous. I plan on doing the "online chat" at verizon wireless the day I order my wife and I's 5's and basically saying "I want to switch to Verizon but the $70 dollars in activation is keeping me from doing it" type of thing. I also thought I saw a coupon out there for free activation and free overnight shipping from verizon wireless online store. That one expires sept 30th though(too early for me to order and port my ATT numbers without getting an Early Termination fee..

I call comcast every time my bill goes up. Tell them im canceling unless i get the promo price back. Been doing this for 7 years successfuly. Why should I as the loyal customer pay more the longer I am with the company?
 

VOLS34

Zealot
Gold
Jun 25, 2010
1,118
79
48
#17
Can you name those fees for us? Thanks.
Lol yes. My son doesn't have a smartphone but it is Internet capable. Somehow he had used up $150 worth of data before I got a warning email. Instead of charging me that they just added a $10 unlimited plan. My daughter & myself have gotten random texts that we didn't really pay attention to. When we didn't respond it automatically set us up with some monthly subscription to something for 9.99. This has happened quite a few times & they always remove it. Since we have iPhones I just put a purchase block on all my lines to prevent anymore scams or accidental purchases.
 

ipod

Member
Bronze
Sep 14, 2007
340
17
18
#19
Lol yes. My son doesn't have a smartphone but it is Internet capable. Somehow he had used up $150 worth of data before I got a warning email. Instead of charging me that they just added a $10 unlimited plan. My daughter & myself have gotten random texts that we didn't really pay attention to. When we didn't respond it automatically set us up with some monthly subscription to something for 9.99. This has happened quite a few times & they always remove it. Since we have iPhones I just put a purchase block on all my lines to prevent anymore scams or accidental purchases.
Thanks. I appreciate that. I think I am getting those scam text messages. I have been for months now. I'll have to call AT&T and see what's going on with that. And did you say a $10 unlimited plan? When was this and you're with AT&T right? $10 unlimited data plan sounds like a steal. What's the catch?
 

VOLS34

Zealot
Gold
Jun 25, 2010
1,118
79
48
#20
Thanks. I appreciate that. I think I am getting those scam text messages. I have been for months now. I'll have to call AT&T and see what's going on with that. And did you say a $10 unlimited plan? When was this and you're with AT&T right? $10 unlimited data plan sounds like a steal. What's the catch?
It's non smartphone unlimited that's $10. I have 4 lines, 700 mins, free mobile to mobile, unlimited texts, 1 unlimited non smartphone data plan, 2 iPhone 2GB data plans, & my unlimited iPhone data plan & pay $195 per month. I've been with AT&T over 10 years since they were Cingular. If I called I'm sure they would waive my activation fee.