AT&T Surcharges & Fees for the Watch

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by eagleglen, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. eagleglen macrumors 65816

    eagleglen

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #1
    I just received my first bill from AT&T with the cellular service for Apple Watch included and I'm curious if it's as much as what everyone else is being charged. I have one of AT&T's unlimited plans for my iphone, so the only addition service fee to add the watch was $10/mo; however, they added an addition line to my account and all the surcharges and fees that I pay for my phone's service have been duplicated for the new line. As a result, the Watch adds new charges totaling $11.74, which is more than the service fee just for the watch.

    I live in Arizona, so the surcharges and fees include specific items related to AZ, but the fact they are duplicates to what I pay for the phone seems unjustified, particularly when I consider how little cellular service I will actually use. I was expecting some additional tax but not this much. All totaled, the watch increases my bill by $21.74. Is this what would people are experiencing?

    For me, it was a well thought out decision to add $10/mo to my bill, perhaps even $15, but it's almost $22/mo now and I'm not sure it is worth it.

    AT&T will be giving me a credit for the service fee after three months, in the amount of $30. It's their method of letting you try it for "free", but a refund is not the same as just making it free for 3 months to begin with. At least I know this beforehand. The surcharges and fees, which amount to more than the service itself, is what seems most unjustified.

    If nothing else, this felt good to vent. Thx.
     
  2. MareLuce macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    #2
    Thanks for the heads up. I was on the fence about adding cellular service for watch but I definitely won’t now.

    I wish someone in the media would create huge stink about this. Classic AT&T.

    I wish Apple could replace the entire need for me to give any money to AT&T.
     
  3. deeddawg, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018

    deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #3
    $15.14/mo here in GA, total. Details below.

    What's different with Arizona jacking it up another $6.60/mo? That's real high.

    From my latest bill (I've had S3 LTE)
    Screenshot 2018-10-06 08.06.11e.png
     
  4. anthonymoody macrumors 68020

    anthonymoody

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2002
    #4
    Wow that’s egregious. I’m on ATT in NY and have been trying to talk myself into what I assumed would be about $15. Even that feels like too much for how I’d likely use it.
     
  5. Lancetx macrumors 68000

    Lancetx

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    AT&T charges that ridiculous $1.99 administrative fee on a per line basis for every line of service, including smartwatches. So they really should advertise the service at $11.99 instead of $10 to begin with. They also pass along those Federal and Regulatory fees for every line too, so it adds up very quickly.

    I'm already paying about $11 each month in taxes and fees alone on my unlimited plan for my iPhone, so I wasn't even going to consider adding a line for the Apple Watch no more than I would actually use it untethered. I'll just stick to carrying my iPhone with me and having the watch tethered to it.
     
  6. DontGetTheCheese macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2015
    #6
    The state and federal fees I can at least accept, even if it's crazy time with a lot of them. The Admin Fees are a legal criminal activity. If we had a working government this would be stopped or disclosure requirements would be put in place. Christ, in California we get calorie counts in restaurants, it doesn't seem too much to ask for a company selling you something to have to at least lay out a full fee disclosure.
     
  7. eagleglen thread starter macrumors 65816

    eagleglen

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #7
    It’s interesting that the $10.00/mo service fee for your watch is called an “Access for Apple Watch”, where mine is called an “AT&T Unlimited Wearable.” Below is a screen shot of my “Surcharges & fee” that total $11.74, which are just for the watch here in Arizona. I have a separate section of identical fees for my phone. For the limited amount of service I’ll actually use, this is appalling.


    4275F8B6-6A20-4B53-B5AB-CE51FD6029F2.jpeg
     
  8. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #8
    FWIW, we're on an older 20GB mobile share plan so maybe that's the basis of the naming difference -- we roll over nearly 1/3 of the data allocation every month and the unlimited plans are substantially more expensive, so I've not seen any need to change.

    I note on your bill there's $4.99 in AZ State and City surcharges - are those something state/city specific and not something AT&T can do anything about? Sort of like my county 911 surcharge that all "phone" lines get charged? ALso interesting the stark difference in the Federal Universal Service Charge amounts...
     
  9. Julien macrumors G4

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #9
    AT&T is NOT charging or keeping the taxes and fees (other than the Administrative fees). All is mandated and goes to local, state or federal agencies. If fact AT&T (or any carrier) has NO choice but to collect the mandated fees for the agencies.
     
  10. newellj macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #10
    Who gets the "Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee"? That sounds like a carrier fee rather than a governmental fee.

    Edit: it's a carrier grab, basically extra profit margin.
     
  11. nrvna76 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #11
    The issue isn’t with whether or not they have to pay it, it’s advertising at one price and charging another. T-Mobile doesn’t do this and it is one of the most underrated features for that company.
     
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #12
    While sure it'd be nice if more companies advertised all-in pricing, the reality is it is very rare. T-Mobile is *far* more the exception than the rule. Too bad their service coverage isn't better. Oh that and they have the same practice on their lower-tier plan too...

    Screenshot 2018-10-06 14.37.45.png
     
  13. eagleglen thread starter macrumors 65816

    eagleglen

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #13
    You're right that there is nothing AT&T can do about the taxes your state and city charge. But something needs to be done by Apple or the carrier to stop looking at the wearable as a separate line of service. I know AT&T must allocate a line to the watch and then Number Sync it to your phone, but the reality is that you're never using both at the same time and your total usage is not increasing. IDK, maybe this can't be changed, but my main grip is that it wasn't made clear at the time of purchase, and claiming it's only an addition $10/mo was deceptive.
     
  14. deeddawg, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018

    deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #14
    I hear you, I just have no expectation of things being how they ought to be.

    Regulatory would be governmental -- and we know how fast they adjust to technology changes.... :rolleyes:

    When I bought my AW3 LTE a year ago I knew there would be fees and such added on, just wasn't sure how much but figured similar to my other phone lines. I haven't looked at any of the marketing stuff this year so don't know how prominent or hidden the "** plus fees and taxes" caveat is in the info they supply.

    Sure it would be great to know the $$ ahead of time. Also be complex as heck to advertise since it'd vary by every single state, county, and city each with their own fees/taxes.

    I also agree that AT&T is pretty slimy in how they stack BS fees. Kind of how every other carrier does as well though, so it's a bit of a mess everywhere. I do like how TMO is leading on the one-price-includes-fees -- yet the evidence in this thread shows that I'd be subsidizing folks in areas whose government-mandated taxes and fees were higher than mine (and folks in lower-fee areas would be subsidizing them and I also).

    So it's kind of tough nut to crack. Imagine what the governments would do if their fees were hidden thoroughly? Need to keep those very clear so local voters can make their choices of whether or not they're receiving the value they expect for what they pay. Yet for a carrier to try to craft marketing to give the end-price to everyone in separate marketing? Kinda tough also.

    I think at this point we just need to keep reminding people to *ask* other folks what they end up paying, specific to their state/local area. ... and looking at existing charges on their lines as an forecaster.
     
  15. DontGetTheCheese macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2015
    #15
    If they can calculate your fees when they bill you, they can calculate them when you sign up. Hell, they could publish it on a website by address and you could look it up before you bought.

    Cockroaches don’t like light though.

    One other thought, it’s not just ATT, the big 4 all do it. Every cable company does it too. I half expect to show up at the grocery store one day and see a self-checkout charge, “hey, we gots to do maintenance on the machines and that checker costs money too.”
     
  16. Scott G. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Location:
    Amsterdam, NY
    #16
    About $30 and change for an Apple Watch in total on my AT&T account.
     
  17. TScottTX macrumors member

    TScottTX

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2016
    Location:
    DFW TX
    #17
    Really, $30 a month in NY? You need to look at your State and Local governments and place blame where it belongs. I'd seriously consider a move to a more free State. Here in Texas, my bill is $14.41

    469.XXX.XX24 SCOTT MXXXXR $14.41
    Monthly plan charges for Aug 09 - Sep 08 $10.00
    Access for Apple Watch
    $10.00
    International Long Distance - Standard
    $0.00
    Surcharges & fees $3.55
    Administrative Fee
    $1.99
    Federal Universal Service Charge
    $0.20
    Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge
    $1.25
    State Cost-Recovery Fee
    $0.04
    Texas Universal Service
    $0.07
    Government taxes & fees $0.86
    9-1-1 Service Fee
    $0.50
    911 Equalization Surcharge
    $0.06
    City Sales Tax - Telecom
    $0.07
    TX State Sales Tax - Telecom
    $0.23
     
  18. Lancetx macrumors 68000

    Lancetx

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #18
    Even here in Texas though, it's ridiculous that it costs an additional 44.1% in fees and taxes for a $10 line of service. If they're going to do it at all, AT&T definitely should only charge that $1.99 administrative fee on a per account basis, not on a per line basis as they do currently. I'll continue to vote with my wallet and not get the service for the Apple Watch for as long as they do.
     
  19. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #19
    How can they charge as a separate line when the watch line does not work without the phone being turned on?
     
  20. cwanja macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #20
    What? The watch will work independently of the phone if it is out of range or turned off? Hence the capability to take your watch without your phone anywhere - ala the paddle boarding example in the S3 keynote 2017.

    This is one of many threads that outline the ridiculous fees associated with the watch. They all describe it as "$10/month", but not one of them is close to that when it is all said and done. But all of them are likely covered because in the advertisement, it likely says "fees and other charges" apply. I have a non-activated LTE series 4 - mainly because I wanted the stainless steel. But I was willing to test the LTE feature, except Verizon is being babies and not offering a promotion unless you buy the device from them. So I will keep my $10 and change and not test the feature nor activate it.

    A lot of you are pointing out regulatory, city and county fees - look past your carrier and at your elected officials. No company is going to take taxes and fees on the chin - they are going to pass those right on to the customer.
     
  21. nrvna76 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #21
    I think the point is you need an active phone line to use the watch. You can’t just go buy a watch and pay $10 plus taxes and fees.
     
  22. cwanja macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #22
    That would just be naive to think that as the device has never been advertised that way. All over the site it says you need an iPhone to activate it, sync, etc.
     
  23. nrvna76 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #23
    I’m not arguing if it’s naive or not. Just that I can see the argument for not adding every tax and fee to it as it is an add on to an iPhone line.
     
  24. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #24

    Admin fee is not a regulatory fee.

    For the other fees, you are right this is a fight that needs to be taken to legislators.
     
  25. Vanilla35 macrumors 68040

    Vanilla35

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    #25
    Glad I switched to T-Mobile a few years ago. Hated having to go through my ATT bill every few months to ensure they didn't add any new fees
     

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38 October 6, 2018