AT&T Surcharges & Fees for the Watch

eagleglen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 2, 2009
1,104
293
Phoenix, AZ
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.
 

MareLuce

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2010
758
262
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.
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,963
2,771
US
$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
 
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anthonymoody

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2002
2,648
710
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.
 
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Lancetx

macrumors 68000
Aug 11, 2003
1,980
587
Texas
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.
 

DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2015
177
123
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.
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.
 

eagleglen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 2, 2009
1,104
293
Phoenix, AZ
$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)
View attachment 792570
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
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,963
2,771
US
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.


View attachment 792638
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...
 
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Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,271
4,228
Atlanta
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.
 

newellj

macrumors 604
Oct 15, 2014
7,748
2,629
East of Eden
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.
 
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nrvna76

macrumors 65816
Aug 4, 2010
1,066
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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.
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.
 

deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,963
2,771
US
The issue isn’t with whether or not they have to pay it, it’s advertising at one price and charging another.
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
 
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eagleglen

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 2, 2009
1,104
293
Phoenix, AZ
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...
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.
 
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deeddawg

macrumors G3
Jun 14, 2010
8,963
2,771
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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.
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.
 
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DontGetTheCheese

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2015
177
123
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.”
 
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TScottTX

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2016
48
65
DFW TX
About $30 and change for an Apple Watch in total on my AT&T account.
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
 

Lancetx

macrumors 68000
Aug 11, 2003
1,980
587
Texas
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
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.
 
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ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,503
911
How can they charge as a separate line when the watch line does not work without the phone being turned on?
 

cwanja

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2010
632
283
Texas
How can they charge as a separate line when the watch line does not work without the phone being turned on?
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.
 

nrvna76

macrumors 65816
Aug 4, 2010
1,066
1,077
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.
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.
 

cwanja

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2010
632
283
Texas
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.
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.
 

nrvna76

macrumors 65816
Aug 4, 2010
1,066
1,077
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.
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.
 

ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
5,503
911
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.

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.
 

Vanilla35

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2013
3,273
1,280
Washington D.C.
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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