Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Secret AT&T Rate Increase In August? Looks like my iPhone plan is going up more than $43.00 a month.



My wife received this letter two weeks ago regarding "changes" to our AT&T account. The "changes" appear to be rate increases due to dropping discounts. Here's the text of the letter:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Regarding Changes To Your Wireless Account

Ref. Account Number(s):
XXXXXXXXX

Dear [MY WIFE],

We'd like to inform you of an effort we're making to help us better serve you. Effective August 2009, we will be converting your wireless account(s) to a new national billing platform. You can continue to use your current device(s), features and services. The following explains the changes which will impact your account:

• You will see some slight differences in how charges are displayed on your invoice.

• You will be assigned a new billing account number. It will appear on your first bill after conversion.

• You will receive a new payment remittance address (known as a "lockbox"). Your new lockbox address will appear on your first bill after conversion.

• Accounts Payable information may need to be updated, particularly if you use an automated purchasing system.

• Your Monthly Service Discount which you receive due to a qualified company affiliation will apply to the monthly service charge of the primary wireless number only. It does not apply for add-a-line plans.

• If you receive a Monthly Service Discount, it will be applied after all other discounts have been processed.

• Some features, discounts and promotions may no longer be available after conversion.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please call 611 or 1-800-331-0500 and mention conversion letter code SE6CONVL3. Thank you for choosing AT&T as your wireless provider. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,
AT&T


If I'm reading this correctly; this will effectively increase my bill $43.80 a month and my bill will rise to $247.70 after taxes.

[UPDATE] CONFIRMED: My bill went from $198.70 (last month) to $240.67 this month - no extra charges for anything else.

11 comments:

Tom said...

Interesting.

Looks like it was primarily about changes to the company affiliation discount. Do you think that was AT&T's doing, or the company?

fixyourthinking said...

Well ... My wife's "company" is the government.

I doubt the state of sc made a stink about discounts.

I'm assuming At&t is making another " we need more money" decision.

Walt French said...

"I'm assuming At&t ..."

Yup. Despite the ole "when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME."

I'm gonna guess it DID have had to do with SC, not dissimilar to a move at my wife's company, where they forbade ANY personal use of a company-sponsored phone (citing the requirement for taxing benefits and the hassle thereof). In her case, she went out & bought an iPhone, in addition to the Crackberry her firm issues.

A "secret" rate increase? Of course, we signed contracts for these things and AT&T's breaking them would seem stupider than usual for them, so you might look at your personal contract -- do you actually have one? See if the OLD contract allowed rate changes during the term. Probably not; as the letter said, it was converting you from an umbrella contract that expired/was terminated (probably, not renewed due to SC cost concerns) and AT&T rolled you, gratis, onto a new, personal, non-discounted contract.

Terminate or suck it up. Whatever is going on, it's probably NOT what you claim in your headline.

fixyourthinking said...

Walt I published your comment for others to laugh at you mostly ...

1) My wife gets a state government employee discount - there is no personal use involved.

2) AT&T is making the final Bellsouth/Cingular switch - that's what the account conversion is about - there's no contract expiration or state policy changes.

3) I also confirmed all of this with AT&T and have also confirmed that they are following Verizon's choice to do this as well.

4) This is a rate increase (just like a fee is a secret tax) that many won't even know until they get their bill - most won't read this letter if it got past a junk filter.

5) Try to make your points with less cliche and more facts.

6) Terminate? I've been with AT&T (and the former names Bellsouth Mobilty & Cingular) for 17 years. They are the only carrier in the US that has the iPhone. The last comment almost ruined your whole argument and made me debate on whether to publish you.

twyrick said...

I'd be curious if this actually means a wholesale dropping of the "affiliate company discount" program from AT&T?

I've had my iPhone since a couple months after the first revision was released, and wasn't made aware, until very recently, that I could qualify for a discount - simply because my workplace also has AT&T cellphones. The "catch" to it is, the discount has to be applied by an AT&T rep. after providing them a corporate account identifier number to "link" with your personal acct. Of course, this number was nowhere to be found in any of our paperwork, and it took weeks of "back and forth" with our corporate sales rep. to even obtain the correct number.

It'd be just my luck that I finally get this whole discount thing figured out, and AT&T decides not to do it anymore.

fixyourthinking said...

Yeah ... it kinda stinks for me too ... I only had the discount for 3 months. My wife just got an iPhone in March.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. "in order to serve you better", we have to charge you 25% more...

Try terminating your agreement with AT&T over the change in terms. They may offer you better terms to keep you. And if they don't, press for them to unlock your iPhone.

Anonymous said...

When the rate increase comes blog all about it in the mean while don't assume too much.

And don't think AT&T are as stupid as you assumed they are. By delaying their MMS and tethering they are already shooting themselves in their feet and if they did this they will be cutting their leg/legs off.

Yeas it is a good idea spread facts and not rumormongering otherwise you sound like a verizon shill.

fixyourthinking said...

Umm ...

Ok. If you read ... I got my bill and confirmed it.

Curt said...

Long time AT&T, Cingular, at&t user with a second gen iPhone. To date, no announcement in the mail from AT&T and no price increase on my bill. Then again I am not using my employers discount from the State of Arizona.

Bottom line this looks like it is confined to a geographic area and/or specific "discounted rates" with employers.

As I have a personal "family" account, I do not believe I, or others with the same type of accounts will be affected.

fixyourthinking said...

This IS national as I have been able to confirm.

This is essentially the ending of blanket discounts as provided by ALL large discount programs.

Discounts will now only apply to the main number.

In your family plan ... this may include the first two lines as this is considered your "package inclusion" ... I have three lines with data and unlimited texting.